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The purpose of this book is not to give a detailed' 
statistical account of Red Croaa activities in Italy, — that 
may be found in the various Department Reports, — but 
rather to tell the American people who contributed so gen- 
erously to the Red Cross funds the simple tale of what 
their dollars did in Italy. It is a great and inspiring 
record and one in which Americans may well take pride. 

The American Red Cross came to Italy in the hour 
of her greatest need, not to bring charity, but to render 
justice, by alleviating as far as possible the sufferings 
brought on by two hard years of fighting in our common 
cause before our own country took up arms. The ma- 
terial aid that it has been privileged to give, at the front, 
in canteens, in assistance to hospitals, and in helping refu- 
gees and the needy families of soldiers, stretches from one 
end of Italy to the other and looms large in figures. But 
it is not in figures that one may find the true measure of 
its achievement. What mattered most in winning the 
war, and what matters most for our future relations, ia 
the fact that through this material aid the Red Cross suc- 
ceeded in translating into deeds the soul of America, in 
making it plain to the Italians that we were there to work 
as brothers, filled with a common enthusiasm and inspired 
by common ideals; the fact that through it the heart of 
America touched the heart of Italy, strengthening the 
bonds of friendship that bind our nations together, by 
mutual understanding and mutual respect. 

It is the hope of the writer that this narrative of Red 
Cross work may in its way contribute to a better under- 
standing between our two peoples, by cpnyeying to the 

OCT 1-1 r^^i 



American reader something of that finer and more dis- 
criminating appreciation of Italian character that our 
workers in the field have invariably gained. 

The story of the Ked Cross in Italy I shall tell in a 
strictly impersonal way. There will be no attempt to ap- 
portion praise, and, indeed, as far as it is possible to do 
so, names will be omitted altogether. This procedure is 
not only in harmony with the spirit of modesty that has 
characterized the work of the Commission from the begin- 
ning; it is also dictated by necessity. Only the Keeper 
of all records could justly distribute credits, and there is 
no doubt that on His books some of our humblest work- 
ers will come in for the highest meed of praise. I have in 
mind one Eed Cross worker who has been buried for ten 
months in what to the casual tourist would appear to be 
one of the most Godforsaken towns in Italy — poor, dilapi- 
dated, far from the railroad and out of touch with the world. 
Here, cut off from all communication with her kind, she 
has performed her modest task, taking no vacation, daily 
on the job from early morning until late in the evening. 
Happy in her work, she has come to love the simple people 
with whom her lot is cast, and should you commiserate 
her, she will reply with a smile : " Human nature is 
pretty much alike wherever you find it." By her tact and 
devotion she has won the affection of the people and filled 
with courage and a new loyalty hearts that were wavering 
and made of a disloyal town one of the most loyal. There 
is no glory and no fame in obscure service like this. But 
such a faithful servant desires no glory. She is the 
spirit of the Red Cross in the field, and she has many 
names, — many which I know, many that I could not 
give. Therefore I name her not. Let me simply, once 
for all, clean the score by paying tribute to her wherever 
in Italy she may be hidden, and to all the army of Eed 
Cross workers in Eome and in the field, high and low, 
whose devotion has made the work in Italy a success. 

"Se exception only shall I make to this rule, and no 



Red Cross worker would forgive me if I failed to do so, 
Tor tiere ia one thing in which there is imanimoua agree- 
ment and that is, loyalty to and admiration for Colonel 
Robert Perkins, the Italian Commissioner. It waa not 
surprising that a auccessfiU business man should prove in 
a new field a leader of men, but it waa indeed surprising 
that a man knowing little or nothing of Italy or Italians 
should so promptly grasp the political and economic situa- 
tion, understand the people, win their hearts, and then 
succeed in doing just the right things to make all Italy 
know that America was whole-heartedly with her in the 
fight. His spirit has permeated the entire organization 
and given unity and aim to its efforts. It is duo to his tact 
and wisdom and breadth of vision that the work of the 
Red Cross in Italy has been, as a prominent Italian re- 
cently expressed it : " Not merely a work of compassion, 
but also a work of large constructive statesmanship." 

In an undertaking of such magnitude, where much had 
to be entrusted to men and women chosen from all walks of 
life with no special equipment for their tasks save common 
intelligence and a spirit of devotion, some mistakes were in- 
evitable. It were as easy as it would be gratuitous to 
point them out. For in a situation that called for im- 
mediate and striking action the greatest of all blunders 
would have been to avoid all blunders. That would have 
meant deliberation and delay, and delay would have been 
an irreparable blunder. Time was the essence of the 
undertaking. But anyone who will make a careful in- 
vestigation of the work that has been done throughout 
Italy will be forced to the conclusion that the work of the 
Italian Commission is entitled to its full share in the 
commendation of General Pershing when, speaking of the 
American Red Cross in general, he said : " Since the 
world began there never has been a work for humanity 
conducted on so large a scale with such economy, efficiency, 
and despatch." 

The writer wishes to acknowledge hia indebtedness to all 


members of the CommissioiL and District Delegates and 
to the many other Eed Cross workers who have so gen- 
erously aided him in his investigations and to thank l£em 
for their unfailing courtesy. He is under special obliga- 
tion to Major William Hereford, Director of the Public 
Information Department, from whose well kept records 
he has made large borrowings and whose advice and 
friendly counsel have been invaluable. 


Italy's Entrance mto the Wab — Early Gains - 
The American Relief Clearing Houeb — The 
Baker Commission . 

Capobetto — Refugees *- 
commibbion . . . 

Red Cross Euerqenct 

m. Arrival of Permanent Commission — Campidoolio 
Meetino — Plans and Ideals — Organization — 
Civilian Relief and the "Inner Front" . , 

IV. Celebkatinq the Anniversary of America's Decla- 
ration OF War — Cash Distribution to Soldiers' 
Families — Ma. Davison's Visit — Meetino in 
Colosseum — Station Canteens 

V. Rolling Canteens — The June Offensive — A. H. 
C. Ambulance Service — The Story of Lieu- 
tenant McKey 

VL Surgical Dressings — Hospital Supplieb — Hospi- 
tals — Dispensaries — Fighting Spanish Fever 

— Child Welfare Work — Summeh Colonies . 

VIL A Tour Trough Italy in the Wake of the Red 
Cross — Genoa — Turin — Milan — Padua — 
Venice — Florence 1 

VIU. Tour Trough Italy in the Wake of the Red Cross 
(Continued) — Rome — Naples — Avellino — 

— Bari — Reggio Calabria — Sicily (Taormina 
AND Palermo) — Sardinia ..... 



IX Work with American Troops m Italy — The Ac- 
tion AT THE Tagliamento — A Chaplain's Lettee 
— Deliyert op Allotmen Cheques — The Home 
Service Department 157 

X. The Battle of Vittorio Veneto — Ambulances 


Prisoners at Trieste — Relief in the Invaded 
Territory — Aiding Repatriates in the Trentino 182 

XL Gbttinq Out — FraariNG Tuberculosis — Conclu- 
sion . . . . 203 


Total Expenditures of A. R. C. Commission to 
Italy, November, 1917, to June 30, 1919 — - Italian 
version of Star Spangled Banner — American 
Belief Clearing House in Rome — A. R. C. Tem- 
porary Commission — Emergency Organization 
of A. R C. in Italy — A. R. C. Commission in 
Italy as of December 20, 1917 — Organization as 
of November 1, 1918 — Representatives for Emer- 
gency Work in Devastated Territory — Home 
Service Department of A. R. C. in Italy — Am- 
bulance Service and Rolling Canteen Service — 
American Personnel — Italian Personnel — State- 
ment of Some of the Chief Items Other than 
Medical and Surgical Supplies Received and Dis- 
tributed by the A. R. C. in Italy 209 


The Italian Oommissionelr, the Ohairman and the Secretary 
of the A. R. C Frontispiece 


At Quarto on the fifth of May, 1915 3 

The King of Italy 8 

The Italian Commission 33 

Map showing system of transportation 39 

The ouvroir at Toscania 47 

Eefugee boys at Monteporzio 53 

Keception to Mr. Davison in the Oolosseum 64 

American Red Cross Canteen on Grappa 72 

On a camouflaged road at the front 80 

Lieutenant McKey's rolling kitchen 84 

American Eed Cross Hospital at Eimini 95 

Map showing distribution of Red Cross work in Italy . . 109 

The noonday meal at Varedo 113 

Red Cross children in underground refuge at Venice . . 122 

The asUo at Lucca 129 

At the seaside colony at Mazzaro 146 

Religious procession at Desola 155 

Canteen for American Soldiers at Villa Franca . . . 162 

Taking the wounded from a dressing station back of line • 184 

*'Home'' 196 



Italy's Entrance into the War — Early Gains — The AmericsB| 
Belief Clearing House — The Baker CommiBBion 

It was the fifth day of May, 1915. Special trains hadfl 
' leen runniDg into Genoa since early momiag. But it waBi 
not Genoa that held the attraction that had brought thiB 
Tmwonted crowd of visitors. Through the city they hur- 
ried, and on to Quarto by the aea, some three miles to the 
east, on to the sacred rock where, just fifty-five years be- 
fore, Garibaldi had set sail with his red-shirted regiment 
of a thousand men, to realize the dream that had inspired 
him when still a poor fisherman's boy of Nice — the dream 
of an Italy, great, united, and free. The ostensible ob- 
ject of the gathering was the unveiling of a monument in 
honor of the " Thousand." But it was not of the past that 
the people were thinking as they trudged along the dusty 
Toad. They had not come to listen to praises of Italy's 
hero, or to hear once more the story, which reads like a 
Dumas romance, of the dramatic successes of his little 
hand of intrepid men, first in Sicily, afterwards on the 
mainland. The present was all absorbing. There was a 
■world war raging, and the question of Italy's part therein 
■was hurrying to a decision. Would she, would she not, 
declare war? 

A few months before Maeterlinck had brought to Italy 

rjry of Belgium's wrongs, and the reception every- 
accorded him plainly showed where the sympathies 
^ : 


of the people lay. Before the war broke out, on July 25, 
1914, Italy had sent word to Vienna that should war re* 
suit from the offensive note to Servia it would be due to 
this " act of provocation and aggression on the part of 
Austria," and she would consider herself absolved from 
any obligation under the Triple Alliance. And when, in 
consequence of this stand, the Italian Minister was able 
a few days later to inform the French Ambassador that, 
in case of war, France had nothing to fear from Italy, 
it gave him as much satisfaction to deliver that message 
as it did the Ambassador to receive it For whatever the 
disputes that France and Italy may have had, they have 
been of the nature of family quarrels which, however bitter 
they may become, vanish in the presence of an attack from 
witbout. There is a deep underlying attachment of Italy 
to France, due in part to ties of blood and in part to ad- 
miration of her democratic institutions. 

But to sympathize is one thing; to fight, another. And 
the Italians are a peace-loving people. Germany, de- 
spairing from the first of having Italy for an ally, had 
been bending all her efforts to keep her neutral. She 
had sent Von Biilow, her master diplomat of the old 
school, wily, ingratiating, and unscrupulous, to work to that 
end. All the dark German methods of intrigue with which 
we in America became familiar were in Italy intensified. 
And the Central Powers had Ambassadors at the Vatican as 
well as at the Quirinal. It is as if we had had two Bem- 
storffs and two Dumbas to contend with. Moreover, 
through the control of banks, hotels, commerce and in- 
dustry, German capital had already all but effected the 
peaceful conquest of Italy. And the opportunity given 
through this commercial supremacy for spying and plot- 
ting and making propaganda was unlimited. And Italy 
was poor, and struggling under a heavy debt. The odds 
seemed all on Germany's side. 

And yet, another force had been working and steadily 
graining headway, — one with which the Central Powers 








§! _ 









■ properly reckoned,— the force of ideals, the for( 
that defies the obvious, courts the impossible, and leada 
forlorn hopes; the force that sent Columbus over the 

i trackless sea, and sent Garibaldi with his " Thousand " 
from Quarto fifty-five years before to rescue Sicily and re- 
deem Italy. In the crowd gathered on the rock that day^ 
counsels of pnidence would have fallen on deaf ea 
What stood out clearly was the fact that the task there 
bravely begun had not been completed, for there was still, 
a large part of Italian territory under the heel of the Aus- 
trian oppressor. 

The orator, the poet D'Annunzio, was a amall insignifi- 
cant looking man with a thin voice. Not many of the 
crowd could hear what he said and few of these could 
understand all that they heard. It was a strange speech 
for a popular gathering, highly poetic, replete with meta- 

I phors and recondite classical allusions, full of strange 
words or of familiar words given a strange and unusual 
meaning. It is hard for Americans, more matter-of-fact 
and downright, to imderstand the effect which this and the 
apeechea that followed on succeeding days, as delegation 
after delegation waited upon the poet, had upon those who 
heard them, or read them afterwards, for they were at 
once telegraphed from one end of Italy to the other and 
printed in full in the leading papers. But there is some- 
thing of the poet and much of the hero-worshipper in all 
Italians ; and their love of Italy, which is almost passion- 
ate, comes very near to being the only vital religion that 
tiiey know. They rise to their greatest heights of heroism 
and self sacrifice when the voice of duty is heard as the 
clear call of the heroes of old bidding them " Carry on." 

I It was not a freak of fancy that led the poet-orator that 
day to borrow the language of the Bible, and adopt the 
tone of the prophet as he brought to life the old Garibald- 
ian heroes to speed tho new venture that should finally 
realize the national aspirations of Italy. 
Was it by chance that this meeting, at which King and 


the I 




Cabinet were to have been present^ though, forced at the 
last moment by affairs of state to remain awaj^ fell just 
two days after Italy had sent the note to Austria declar- 
ing her intention to resume her freedom of action, since 
the Triple Alliance had been broken by Austria's deeds ( 
It was ahnost too well staged. 

On the seventh day of May the Lusitania was sunk. 
This imspeakable crime against humanity had the same 
effect in Italy that it had Qiroughout the rest of the civil- 
ized world. The meaning of the world-conflict was made 
plain to everyone. Minds that were wavering, hesitated 
no longer. Everywhere throughout Italy the air was elec- 
tric with tension. And Parliament was to meet on the 
twentieth. The decisive hour was approaching. 

German agents, taking alarm, were busier than ever in 
political circles in Eome. The path from the German to 
the Austrian Embassy was well-worn from the frequent 
visits of Von Billow in his endeavor to wrest concessions 
from Austria, which he immediately carried to Baron Son- 
nino, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the vain hope of 
bribing Italy to remain neutral. (Von Biilow afterward, 
commenting on his failure, said it was just his bad luck, 
on coming to a country where everybody is always ready 
to tell anybody everything he knows, to find himself pitted 
against a Minister of Foreign Affairs who was the one man 
in Italy who never told anybody anything.) 

Events were crowding fast in those fateful spring days. 
It was on the same seventh of May that Eome heard that 
Russia's line had broken and that her army was in full re- 
treat in the Carpathians. The German interests made 
much of this, and to their bribes they now added threats. 
Italy did not dare to fight now, they said, for the German 
forces released by the Russian collapse could combine with 
the Austrian ; and they threatened Italy with a punishment 
worse than that of Belgium, — showing thereby the usual 
Gennan inability to understand the psychology of inde- 
pendent and non-cowardly peoples. 


(tWTien the tension was at its greatest Giolitti arrived in 
me. Kow Giolitti had been Prime Minister many 
iDtlis before and had resigned his office in March, 1914, 
im atiU in full control of a majority in the Chamber 
(JJeputies rather than face the responsibilities of dealing 
*H B threatened labor crisis. And Giolitti, as was well 
J was opposed to Italy's entering the war, and lie 
I controlled a majority of the deputies. There were 

Py gatherings of the Giolittians, "neutralists" they 
id themselves — the Italian disguise for pro-German 
Bud over three hundred, or roughly three-fifths of the 
toae, pledged their support to their old leader. 
On the eleventh of May the papers published the details 
-^e concessions Austria was ready to make. Italy, as 
} TpiTice of her neutrality, was to receive, after the war waa 
tr, all the Italian-speaking provinces of the Trentino; 
> eaatem frontier was to reach the Isonzo and include 
she was to receive two islands of Dalmatia; 
sas to have an independent government ; Italy was 
laTB full liberty of action in. Albania, and to receive spe- 
; trade concessions from Austria. We could obtain a 
1 deal" (parecchio), argued the Giolittians, without 
And here it was, printed for all to read. By pub- 
ig the Austrian proposals the cards had been laid on 
I table, and the question of their acceptance put up to 
k people. The answer of the people was given in pro- 
fe demonstrations all over Italy. 
rte poet D'Annunzio, arriving at Rome the follow- 
day, was welcomed by a crowd of more than fifty thou- 
d citizens who pacted the large square in front of the 
don and lined the streets leading to his hotel. This was 
i a personal tribute to the poet who, as a man, was none 
; popular in Italy at that time. But in some mys- 
[ous way he had become the spokesman of the war 
ty. In his Eoman speeches, beginning with the 
Earangue to the Roman people in tumult," he showed 
i he knew how to reach the hearts of his countrymen. 



Throughout them all, in the background^ one continually 
caught glimpses of the brave deeds of the ^^ Thousand " 
fifty-five years ago, and the voice of the old Hero was heard 
uttering the words of scorn : " long enough has Italy 
been a museum, a hotel, the world's playgroimd, a charm- 
ing old curiosity shop, long enough has her sky been 
smeared with Prussian blue for international honey- 
moons. . . . Our national genius bids us rise and put our 
stamp on the real world of to-day. . • • Treason is in the 
air. . . . We are on the point of being sold like a mean 
herd of cattle. . . . They threaten to put the brand of 
slave upon the brow of everyone of us. . . . The name of 
Italian will be a name to make us blush and hide ourselves 
in shame, a name to scorch the lips that utter it. • • • 
The time to talk has passed. It is time to act and act as 
Bomans should." 

But Giolitti was still in Bome and the Giolittians in the 
majority in the Chamber of Deputies. It was then that 
Salandra played his master stroke. Without waiting for 
Parliament to convene and the test vote to be taken, he 
placed his resignation and that of his cabinet, in the hands 
of the King on the thirteenth of May, the reason given 
being that the views of the government had not that 
imanimous support of the parties in Parliament which the 
situation required. The news of the resignation was 
flashed all over Italy. The people were aghast. Did this 
mean that the pro-Germans had won ; that " Von Billow's 
flunkey," as Giolitti was termed, had triumphed ? There 
were more war demonstrations that evening in every city 
of the realm — and riots in Bome, demonstrations whidi 
were repeated on succeeding days. On the fourteenth, at 
Milan the demonstration turned into a riot with attendant 
bloodshed. An American, whose curiosity had led him to 
follow the crowd, had more than once to dash like a 
criminal into a dark alley for concealment, lest, being 
obviously a foreigner and of blonde complexion, he be 
taken for a German. A mob is not discriminating. Even 


Italians with Hgbt hair pulled their caps low over their 
There were bonfires in the squares where neutral- 
ist papers were burned. The crowd broke into a large Ger- 
man-owned music store — a quite un-Italian proceeding 
— smashing instruments and throwing a grand piano from 
a second storj window (the very building which by chance 
later became headquarters of the Red Cross in Milan). 
The crowd was in an ugly mood, and there were many 
threats of what would happen should Salandra'a resigna- 
tion be accepted. That same day in Rome the Giolittians 
were openly branded as traitors, and there were more 
demonstrations there. 

Salandra'a stroke had been successful. The people 
bad spoken and with no uncertain voice. The various po- 
litical parties, taking the hint, passed resolutions in favor 
of Salandra and his policy. And when on the sixteenth 
the announcement was made that the King had refused to 
accept Salandra's resignation, the enthusiasm of the people 
was unbounded. By the hundred thousand they marched 
to the Quirinal and called for the King, who with the 
Crown Prince greeted them from a balcony, and then on 
to the house of Salandra. Everywhere throughout Italy 
there was rejoicing, bells were rung, the tri-color waved 
and shouts of " Viva i'ltalia," " Viva la guerra " filled the 

One last effort the Austrians made to throw discord 
into the political situation. On the twentieth of May, the 
very moment that Parliament was to meet, the Austrian 
Embassy gave out an official statement the substance of 
which was that the territories she was willing to cede to 
Italy would be handed over immediately, instead of after 
the war, as previously announced. The answer was given 
by Parliament, now thoroughly aroused, in a vote for war 
by an overwhelming majority, 367 to 54; and at the same 
time full power was granted to Salandra's cabinet. The 
formal declaration of war was handed to Baron Burian at 
yienna on the twenty-thitd. Diplomatic relations were 




at the same time broken with Germany, though war was 
not declared. But Von Billow's secretary, on leaving 
Rome, gave out the statement that " Germany and Aus- 
tria were one, and that a formal declaration of war be- 
tween Italy and Germany was superfluous. Such a dec- 
laration would be given by German soldiers on the 

Three days later the King left for the front to take 
supreme command of the army and navy. His order of 
the day to the troops began with the words : " The 
solemn hour of Italy's vindication has come," and ended 
as follows : " Soldiers, yours will be the glory of raising 
the Italian tri-color on the sacred frontiers that nature it- 
self has set as the boundary of our country. Yours will 
be the glory of completing the work that your fathers 
with such great heroism began." 

It is clear that for Italy the war was a people's war. 
The people willed it The cabinet may have planned and 
bargained behind closed doors, but, with the majority of 
the politicians opposed to the war, it would have been 
helpless without llie consent and willing support of the 
people. In saying the people willed it, one means the 
people of the cities. There alone the country finds voice. 
The large agricultural population live for the most part 
out of contact with the world of affairs in ignorance of 
what is going on. They are patient, living by routine, 
and it t^es a long time for ideas to penetrate and take 
hold. And the influence, of the priests at that time was, 
with some notable exceptions, for the maintenance of 
peace. So the people in the country districts were either 
indifferent or opposed to the war. All this was to change 
in time. 

All credit must be given to Italy for her decision made 
in the face of considerations of prudence and narrower 

'f-interest, and in spite of pressure brought to bear from 

luential sources, in spite of the underground plotting 
onen propaganda of a well organized and ably di- 



VV vr 



Italy's be^t-beiov-rtl ritiztn. lipr liemoiTatir snldjfr kin 



;ed host of German spies. And yet her decision waa 
inevitable. Italy has been for the whole modem world the 
mainapring of those intangible values that find expres- 
sion in religion and art, in music and poetry, and that 
constitute civilization — valnes against whose power over 
the spirit of man the Huna of all ages have hurled their 
hordes in vain. Nowhere has the power of ideals been 
better manifested than in Italy, She had to run true to 
form. Sympathy for France and Belgium and the ideals 
of freedom for which they were fighting forms the deep 
■underlying, though at first hardly articulate, motive that 
determined her choice. This was re-enforced by intense 
hatred of Austria and the evil things for which she stood, 
a righteous hatred which had its origin in the bitter 
iwrongs which Italy had suffered during the long yeara 
* Austria's domination. 
There waa, however, another motive, on the surface 
Dre evident. Oall it national self-interest if you will. 
It was Italy's true interest, the completion of her libera- 
tion, the vision of the greater Italy. This was her " sa- 
cred egoism " {sacro egoismo) — the phrase is Salandra's, 
and has been much criticised, and foolishly. It is merely 
honest. All depends upon where the emphasis is laid, 
how large or how small the national ego. To be a united 
people able to maintain its freedom and independence is 
no \mworthy aim. Did any nation enter the war simply 
and solely from altruistic and humanitarian motives ? 
We Americans should remember with humility that the 
moral issue waa as clear when Eelgitim was invaded and 
the lAisitania snnk as it waa two years later when we took 
up arma. 

Great was the anger in Berlin over Italy's decision. 
The German Chancellor gave vent to his wrath in a speech 
in the Reichstag full of vituperation of the former ally. 
And Salandra replied in his famous speech of June third. 
It was a calm and reasoned argument, whose statements 
were backed by documsntary evidence, introduced by the 

a 1 





scathing words: ^^ I am but a plain ordinary citizen, yet 
standing here in the capitol representing as I do the people 
and the government of Italy I feel myself nobler far than 
the head of the house of Hapsburg. ... I could not, even 
if I would, answer in kind the brutal words of our ac- 
cusers. Reversion to primitive barbarism is more diffi- 
cult for us who have twenty centuries of civilization to the 

Germany's anger is easily understood. There had been 
keen resentment over Italy's initial refusal to join the 
Central Powers. It was felt that her neutrality at the 
outbreak of war, by releasing the French forces which 
would otherwise have been held on the southern frontier, 
was no insignificant contribution to the victory on the 
Mame which had dashed the German hopes of speedy 
triumph. And now, just when it would have been pos- 
sible to add the weight of the Austrian troops released 
by the Russian collapse to the forces on the western front 
and deliver the crushing blow in France, Italy's declara- 
tion of war made it necessary to send them to defend the 
Italian border. 

On the other hand, there was no lack of appreciation 
on the part of the allies of the value of Italy's decisions. 
But no one seems to have realized her potential fighting 
power. She was regarded rather as a negative factor, 
useful chiefly in holding a large number of German and 
Austrian troops engaged on her front while the decisive 
battles were being fought in France. And this view 
seemed not unreasonable. At the outbreak of the war 
Italy's army numbered less than 300,000 men, and only 
a small fraction of these could have been put in the 
field properly equipped. Her war chest was empty, and 
her debt (in proportion to national wealth) more than 
twice that of France, more than three times that of Eng- 
land. She was dependent on imports for coal, iron, and 
grain, and was hampered by inadequate means of trans- 


>f neatral- ^^^H 
e army to ^^^ 

P'portation. Quietly, during the nine months of 
ity, the government had been busy bringing the 
the full peace footing of between 700,000 and 800J000 
men, and providing it with proper equipment, and ar- 
ranging for the transformation of industries to meet the 
exigencies of war. As a result, Italy had at or near her 
border when she declared war a good fighting army of 
approximately 600,000 men. This might be adequate for 
defence, but all things considered, could more reason- 
ably be expected ? 

The story of how Italy, in spite of all her handicaps, 
mobilized her war industries and multiplied five fold their 
productivity — vastly more in some of the products, such 
8B large-calibre sheila and hand-grenades — and how her 
army steadily grew until more than five million men had 
been called to the colors (one-seventh o£ her entire popula- 
tion) needs to be told to give a proper understanding of 
the vitality of modem Italy, and the earnestness of her 
purpose in the war. 

She had no idea of remaining a negative factor. War 
was no sooner declared than, with a dash and daring 
that aroused the wonder and admiration of the world, 
she took the offensive and drove the war into enemy tei^ 
ritory. Rapidly crossing the strip of lowland that sepa- 
rated her eastern border from the Isonzo Eiver and cap- 
turing and " redeeming " in the first few days of the war, 
Gradisca, Cormons, Aquileia and other old historic Italian 
towns, she began the attack on the main Austrian strong- 
holds along the Isonzo line. At the same time, in the 
mountains in the north she launched another offensive, 
gradually forcing the enemy back until she was within 
sight of Rovereto and well on the way toward the city of 
Trent. In the early summer of 1916 she was forced to 
give up some of the ground thus gained, and to retire be- 
hind her old lines in the region of Asiago, by a fierce 
counter offensive of the Austriana which cost them 100,000 




men and was brought to a standstill before their objective 
was reached. Italy was saved from invasion from the 

It is necessary to study the map in order to under- 
stand the difficulties Italy had to surmount. In 1866, 
after the Austro-Prussian war, Prussia, wantonly break- 
ing faith with her Italian ally, saw to it that the bound- 
ary between Italy and Austria was drawn so as to give 
Austria all the commanding positions. The line on the 
long eight hundred kilometer border bends and twists and 
zigzags in and out with no other object in view. In par- 
ticular, the Trentino wedge stands out like a huge spear- 
head pointed at the industrial heart of Italy, giving 
Austria command of all the approaches to Verona, 
Brescia, and the rich manufacturing cities of Lombardy. 
It is as if everything had been planned by the Germans 
away back in 1866 with a view to preparing for an easy 
invasion of Italy from the north when the time was ripe 
for the Huns of to-day to imitate the Hims of old and 
pour down into the rich Lombard and Venetian plains, 
burning, raping, sacking, even as they had done. 

It was for Italy literally an uphill fight, for the Aus- 
trians were always higher up. Moreover, Italy was 
greatly inferior in artillery, having no large-calibre guns, 
and was so short in ammimition that she was compelled to 
use the greatest economy. Every round must count. 
Everyone has heard of the skill of Italy's engineers in 
constructing military roads and building bridges, and in 
devising ways of conquering the Alps, swinging cannon 
and supplies on steel ropes across yawning chasms and 
over the tops of forests to inaccessible mountain crags. 
But the full story of the bravery and endurance of the 
hardy Alpini and other troops in this incomparably diffi- 
cult battleground has yet to be written. 

The bloodiest battles of Italy's war were fought on 
the eastern frpnt. There she continued to hammer the 
Austrian fortified positions from the outbreak of the war 


f'tmtil the fall of 1917, taking many of the enemy atrong- 
holds and capturing the well fortified town of Gorizia and 
pushing on in the south on the Carso until within sight 
of Trieste. Did the vision of that heautiful city which, 
throughout all the centuries of foreign domination, has 
, remained as thoroughly Italian in spirit and loyalty as 
any city of the peninsula, east a spell on Cadorna? Was 
it sentimental or political reasons that kept him strug- 
gling against heavy odds on the Carso, or sent his brave 
troops up over the table-land of the Bainsizza beyond 
Gorizia to a victory so dearly bought? To the north 
through Tarvis lay the old Napoleonic highway to Vienna. 
Between the Italian trenches on the Carso and Trieste was 
a succession of rugged hills strongly fortified, and 
Btrflngely defended by nature, for their slopes are rocks, 
often large and sharp and jagged and so thickly strewn 
as to constitute a barrier more formidable than continu- 
ous barbed wire entanglements. And dominating all was 
the Hermada. But there ahead lay Trieste, the beauti- 
t ful, calling for deliverance and enticing him on. There 
ia something tragically chivalrous about the campaign on 
the Carso. Tor it was tragic in the extreme. The Ital- 
ians lost on the Carso and on the high table-land of the 
Bainsizza 200,000 killed and 500,000 wounded. The 
objective was not reached. Trieste was not to be set free 
in this way. 

From the first Italy suffered from the fact that she 
had long been regarded as the world's museum and 
pleasure-ground, a country to be seen and enjoyed, a land 
of color and song — instead of being taken seriously as 
a modem nation, prosaic, hardworking, industrial, and 
progressive. Even in her history it was always the pic- 
turesque episodes that stood out in relief. When one 
I thought of her peasantry, one remembered the dashes of 
^M color and flashing eyes and the friendly greeting, rather 
^1 than the grime and the poverty. It was the same with 
^L her soldiery. One did not think of the Bersaglieri as 




picked aharpHshooters and crack troops of assanlty bat 
rather as picturesque soldiers with great masses of 
iridescent black plumes dangling over the side of their 
helmets as they went forward, always on the run, to the 
tune of their stirring Bersa^lieri march. The Alpini 
with their soft slouch hats, decorated with a single 
feather, suggested the glories of sunrise over the ice fields 
above the clouds, rather than the sober hardships of 
Alpine fighting. And the boyish looking Arditi with 
their red or black fez caps and deliberately neglige uni- 
forms who go into battle armed only with knife and hand 
grenade, are the very picture of dare-deviltry in warfare. 

And so from the distant shores of America Italy's 
part in the war was watched with admiration indeed, but 
always with a certain detachment. It was the picturesque 
features that caught the eye : telef eric transport, the bat- 
tles in the clouds, the blowing up of mountains, or the 
daring exploits of individual heroes. It was all somehow 
operatic — a story later to be put on the stage and sung. 
It did not grip us at first as did the war in France. One 
did not seem to realize that these episodes were the high 
lights and that in Italy too, war meant the grim realism of 
life in the trenches — dirty, uninspiring, hideously ugly 
and savage and bloody. Seven hundred thousand lost in 
dead and wounded on the Carso and Bainsizza! That 
single fact tells the sobering story. Nor did we begin 
to realize the extent of the sacrifices that the people 
behind the lines were forced to make when their country, 
already poor, was called upon to support one-seventh of 
its population under arms. 

But Americans living in Italy were under no illusions 
and promptly organized for service. Our Ambassador, 
Mr. Thomas Nelson Page, in October, 1915, called to- 
gether a group of representative Americans and formed 
Sie Italian Branch of the American Belief Clearing 
House. For more than two years this was the only 

Tican relief work in Italy. Loyal Ameri- 



cans resident in Rome, keenly appreciating tlie suffering 
and needa of the people and the courage with which they 
were supporting the heavy biirdena of the war and the 
splendid spirit with which all classes were working for 
the common end, sought the privilege of cooperating with 
the Italians through this organization and generously gave 
of their time and means. Friends of Italy in America 
contributed money and supplies. The American Red 
Cross gave assistance, and designated the Clearing House 
as its representative in Italy, 

How slow America was in recognizing the extent of 
Italy's needs and of our obligations is shown by the fact 
that the total sum contributed for the work of the Clear- 
ing House during the first nineteen months of its activity, 
or up to April 30, 1917, was only $100,000, To this 
should be added a considerable quantity of surgical dress- 
ings and hospital supplies. Slender and inadequate as 
were the means at its disposal, their wise use made it pos- 
sible to relieve much distress by aiding hospitals at the 
front with medical supplies, helping the mutilated and 
the families of soldiers killed in the war, and giving 
financial assistance to many Italian relief organizations. 

In the meantime, Mrs, Page had gathered together the 
American women resident in Rome who, in her spacious 
guest room, regularly met and worked, as the women in 
America were working, making surgical dressings and all 
kinds of hospital supplies. And many wives and widows 
of soldiers were supplied with work through ber efforts. 

The work of the Clearing House expanded more 
rapidly in 1917. When it dissolved early in the follow- 
ing year, its work having been taken over by the Per- 
manent Commission of the American Red Cross, it bad 
distributed the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, in 
addition to hospital supplies of twice that value. But 
the true measure of the work done is not to be foimd in 
these figures, but in the spirit in which it was carried out, 
This was the first tangible expresaion Italy bad received 


of America's friendship and sympathy and it was ap- 
preciated as such by the Government and by those in 
charge of the Italian relief organizations, as is shown by 
the following testimonial from the Contessa di Kobilant, 
wife of General di Robilant (one of the many received) : 
" These Americans have had infinite tact in aiding us. 
They made it appear almost as if it were not they who 
were conferring a favor in giving, but we in permitting 
them to assist in relieving the sufferings of our wounded. 
I have seen them engaged in their work and I shall re- 
member with gratitude their way of doing things; so quiet 
and courteous has it been that most people have known 
nothing about it." 

The American Relief Clearing House had succeeded, 
not only in establishing friendly relations with the Gov- 
ernment, but also in making arrangements concerning rail- 
way transportation, customs facilities, and methods of dis- 
tribution, which were to prove of value to later commis- 

In the summer of 1917 the American Red Cross sent 
a Commission to Italy under George F. Baker, Jr., to 
investigate conditions and report to Washington. This 
Commission spent the month of September in making a 
survey of the situation, giving special attention to the 
hospital needs throughout the peninsula and to the condi- 
tions and opportunities for assistance to the army at the 
front. A committee of the Clearing House had just com- 
pleted a thorough investigation of conditions at tiie front, 
where it had been especially impressed with the possibilily 
of carrying the message of America's friendship directly 
to the soldiers themselves, upon whom the terrible strain 
of continuous life in the trenches was beginning to show 
itself in the increase of nervous diseases — and to do this 
by giving them extra warm clothing for the coming 
winter, by providing Christmas presents, and by equipping 
'*Teation huts. This appealed favorably to the Red 
mmission, which registered its approval by hand- 



B of money 

ing over to the Clearing House substantial s 
to be used for tliese purposes. 

On the second of October the Commiasion departed. 
leaving with Captain G. P. Stevens, as its representa- 
tive, a million lire to be turned over to the Sanitd. MiH- 
iare for the purchase of supplies for the various hospitals 
under its direction; — and carrying back to Washington 
a report that was out of date almost before their vessel 
landed. This is not a reflection on the Commission, but 
on the method of procedure. America had not yet learned 
the futility of sending commissions to investigate, and re- 
port back to a base three thousand milca away, on con- 
ditions that are likely to change completely over-night. , 
Everything ia fluent and new problems are constantly 
arising in a zone of war. But no one could have foretold 
at the time that this Commission sailed that it was a 
question of days when Italy would be overtaken by a 

I disaster of such magnitude that all plans and calcula- 
tions were set at naught, and that for a time the very 
fate of the allies hung in the balance. 


Caporetto — Befogees — Eed Gross Emergency CommissioiL 

The blow fell from a clear sky. It is true that there 
had been for some days an increase of activity on the 
upper Isonzo^ but there was nothing particularly alarm- 
ing in that It was also generally known that the enemy 
had been concentrating its forces there in. preparation for 
an attack and that the Austrians were reinforced by Ger- 
mans. But Cadoma, in his communique of October 24, 
speaking of the heavy bombardment on the previous day 
which "marked the beginning of the expected attack'' 
could say " the onslaught of the enemy finds us prepared 
and unflinching." And General Giardino, head of the 
War Department, was equally reassuring in his speech in 
Parliament on the same day reviewing tiie military situar 
tion. " The enemy," he said, " knows that we are pr^ 
pared, but he is on the lookout to discover some gap or 
weak point in our front in order to put a wedge into it 
and break through. — Let the attack come," he exclaimed, 
" we are unafraid ! " And almost as he spoke the enemy 
had driven the wedge. The weak spot had been found. 
A part of the line simply caved in. It was but a small 
sector of the long Italian front, only a few miles in ex- 
tent, but it was the strategic position in the neighborhood 
of Caporetto. For when the line gave way at tiiis point, 
it enabled the enemy to pour down the Natisone valley 
to Cividale, cutting in behind the Italian Army from 
Caporetto to the sea and threatening its capture entire. 
It was later learned that this offensive had been planned 
* Uest detail by the Germans and was conducted 

th the aim of massing the forces of the Central 




Powers in one decisive blow which was to put Italy, 
for all, out of the war. General Cadoroa's promptnesB 
in grasping the significance of the break and immediately 
ordering a general retreat, the perfect discipline and order 
and forcefulnesa of the Third Army; and the bravery of 
the protective troops, and particularly the cavalry, whole 
regiments of which gloriously sacrificed themselves, frus- 
trated part of the enemy's plan. The bulk of the army 
was saved. 

But the retreat continued all along the weary miles 
that separate the Isonzo from the Piave River, where a 
stand was finally made. The army was saved for the 
time being. But the Italians had lost over 300,000 men 
taken prisoner, 4,000 large-calibre guns, vast quantities of 
stores and ammujiitioD, and all their first and second line 
base hospitals; and the enemy had overrun Friuli, the 
mountain provinces of Carnia and Cadore, and all the 
eastern portion of the Veneto. 

Napoleon, long years before, had discovered the strate- 
gic importance of Caporetto. He wrote in 1809 to 
Prince Eugene, who was leading his forces on this front 
in his campaign against Austria, warning him of the dan- 
ger of a break at that point, which would let the Austrians 
through the valley of the Natisone and force a retreat to 
the Piave which would then be the first adequate line of 
defense. And shortly after this warning was sent Austria 
did break throiigh at Caporetto, and everything happened 
exactly as Napoleon had foreseen, and exactly aa it hap- 
pened in October, 1917, more than a hundred years later. 
It is safe to assume that the German strategists knew what 
they were about, and that it was no accident that the 
break occurred at Caporetto, 

But how it happened that just at this point should have 
been encountered disaffected Italian troops, ready to lay 
down their arms and walk over to the' enemy when the 
signal was given, and what caused the general disaffection 
in the Second Army, are matters which have not yet been 



wholly cleared up, although aome o£ the more important 
contributiug factors are obvioua, while it is equally obvious 
that aome of the sensational etorica that were bandied 
about in Rome at the time are without foundation. The 
charge of treason was freely made. It was made in the 
famous "suppressed commimiques" of Ot!tober 28 and 
29. These communiques never got by the censor, al- 
though what purported to be typewritten copies were 
freely circulated among the officers at the front. They 
were properly suppressed, if indeed they were genuine, for 
the judgment was pronounced in anger. The matter waa 
far from being so simple. In seeking an explanation the 
first thing that is apparent is that there were certain under- 
lying factors whose influence was by no means confined to 
ihe men at the front. The war had lasted much longer 
than anyone had anticipated and had been growing more 
and more sanguinary and no apparent progress was being 
made. There had been a short food crop and the activity 
of submarines in the Mediterranean made it almost im- 
possible to supplement this by importation. There had 
been food riots in Turin in August, led by socialists 
clamoring for peace. In August the Pope had addressed 
his peace note to the belligerent powers, inviting them to 
consider on what basis a peace could be signed. Prom- 
inent socialist members of Parliament had demanded that 
the Government reply. Aa ia well known, but not always 
remembered, the Papal Court ia as independent of the 
government of Italy as it ia of the government of the 
United States, and it was maintaining a strict neutrality. 
The Pope was therefore no more to be criticised for the 
sending of this note than was our own President for 
addressing a similar one to the Powers. But there can 
be no doubt that in the simple mind of the ignorant 
Italian peasant it might easily appear that the note was 
addres"'^^ ■*" ''im personally and to aU the people, rather 
thj" igerent governments. Peace talk was in 

longing for peace in everyone's heart. 



Bocialista had taken aa their slogan, " There shall be no 
third winter in the trenchea." All of these influences 
■were having their effect with the aoldiera at the front. 
Then again there were other iufliieneeB more directly 
ftfiecting the soldier. Ilia rations which in 1916 had been 
700 grams of bread and 350 grams of meat had been in 
1917 reduced to 400 grams of bread a day and 200 grama 
of meat twice a week, with salt fish, sardines or vegetables 
on the other days. For a time coffee and sugar gave out 
and he had for breakfast five dried figs or five chestnuts. 
Anxiety for the folks at home was certainly another in- 
fluence, for the Italian, though much of an individualist, 
is intensely devoted to his family. Besides, the Italian 
soldier was given but one leave a year, and that for fifteen 
days, moat of which had to be consumed in transit. And 
these men of the Second Army who threw down their 
arms, had been kept in the front line trenches for six 
vreeka without respite. It was almost more than human 
nature could endure. They were thoroughly fed up on the 
war and thought and dreamed of nothing but peace. And 
finally there was the direct Austrian propaganda, which 
was well planned to strengthen and reinforce these other 
influences. Leaflets were dropped over the trenchea in 
which the Italians were told that the Austrians them- 
Belves were sick of the war and longing for peace, that 
"they were friends, and that peace would come if they 

ii.only came together and threw down their arms and re- 
fused to fight. It was the old familiar argmnent for 

■non-resistance which we used to hear in America — it 
takes two to make a quarrel, one nation or one man can- 
not fight alone. In the trenches also suddenly appeared 
post-cards with a picture of Christ and bearing beneath 
the legend: "Why so much bloodshed? Think of your 
nntilled fields and your desolate homes," And so the 
Austrians and Italians exchanged messages and frater- 
nized. And the day was set for the inauguration of 
When the hour arrived and the Italians went 

p eace. When the hour arrived and the Italians went J 


forth to meet friends, ihey were greeted by a withering 
fire from German troops that had been substituted for the 
friendly Austrians. 

Thus the gap was found and through it Mackensen's 
troops rushed, capturing a small army of prisoners, and 
on through the valley of the Natisone close on the heels 
of the fleeing remnant of the Second Army, which was 
now in full rout. Some of the soldiers threw away their 
guns as they ran, and sang and shouted " Peace I We are 
going home. The war is over. One man canH fight 
alone." Others cursed. Here were officers rallying their 
soldiers and bravely turning in their tracks in the vain 
attempt to check the oncoming forces of the enemy. Here 
were others, wolves in sheep's clothing, Austrians and 
Germans disguised in Italian uniforms, giving contrary 
orders. Great was the confusion. How was one to know 
whom to believe ? 

But it would be an impardonable mistake to represent 
the Austrian victory as having been won without re- 
sistance. The official figures give the Italian losses of 
Caporetto as 30,000 killed and 70,000 wounded. The 
cave-in occurred on a small part of the line. The bulk 
of the army fought bravely, as these figures show, and 
took its heavy toll in Austrian lives. 

Word of the disaster fiew on ahead. The great head- 
quarters at Udine were abandoned on the 28th. And then 
tiie greatest horrors of the retreat began. The civil 
population of farms and villages, seeing the retreating 
troops and hearing the booming of the cannon of the pur- 
suing enemy were thrown into a panic and, abandoning 
all they possessed, rushed to join the moving throng that 
congested the highways. Mindful perhaps, of the fate of 
the Belgians, they fied to escape a similar rule of terror. 
They fled as they were. There was no time to collect 
household goods, clothing, food, or money. Mothers tak- 
iT- ■ " babes in their arms or carrying them in baskets 
^ks, started on the weary journey that led they 



not whither, — only that it was away from th»n 
dreaded invader. And many hastily snatched up a few 
prized possessions, only to find themselves later carefully 
lugging such foolish things as people seize as they run away 
from a house on fire. The absurd and the tragic walk ever 
hand in hand. Here was an old woman carrying a pet 
goose; there was a mother with her eleven children roped 
together — a wise precaution, for many families were 
separated in the flight. The terrible experiences of those 
days and nights beggar description. Kain added to the 
horrors. To this day the men who went through it all 
cannot tell the story without being overcome with emotion. 

There were other tragedies of the retreat besides those 
affecting the civil population. Some of the soldiers had 
thrown away their guns in the flight before the enemy, an 
unpardonable offense in a soldier. These were caught at 
the bridge crossings. And more than once, in the early 
dawn, regiments were drawn up on three side* of a hollow 
square as these unfortunates were led out before them to 
face the firing squad. There was nothing heroic in their 
last moments. They did not go to their death with head 
ereet and defiant, but cowering and weeping and sadly be- 
wildered. It was too much for their simple minds to take 
in. It was just a horrible ending to the sweet dream of 
peace, which had begun with a song in the distant moun- 
tain valleys. In truth, they were neither traitors nor 
cowards — merely victims of a fair hut fatal illusion. 
Stem measures ! But, — e la gtierra. Stem measures 
were necessary to bring order out of the chaos of those 
terrible days. As a result, discipline was restored, the 
rout became an orderly retreat before the Piave was 
crossed. And there the army made a stand and held. 

The Piave is not a formidable barrier. And that an 
army demoralized by a smashing defeat, and crippled 
by enownous losses of men and guns and ammunition, 
suffering from himger and cold, and weary from many 
days of forced marches through mud and rain, should 


hava been brought to order, abould have rallied and held 
the superior forces of an enemy flushed with victory, is 
little short of marvelous. One of the most glorious pages 
in Italy's history was written on the banks o£ the Piave 
in those early days of November. 

But now Italy, her resources already taxed almost to 
the breaking point, was called upon to bear an additional 
burden of colossal proportions in caring for not far from 
half a million old men, women and children, suddenly 
rendered homeless and pennileas by the Caporetto de- 
feat' The plight of these refugees was pitiable in the 
extreme when they finally found their way to the railroad 
stations. And yet their trials were only beginning. Still 
htingry, cold, and footsore, they were crowded into cattle 
cars as fast as these could be found (troop trains they 
are called by courtesy) and started on the weary journey 
for imknown destinations.— For the Government took 
prompt measures to distribute them throughout all the 
provinces of Italy. — And sometimes they traveled thus 
for ten days or two weeks, men, women, and children, and 
of all classes, closely packed, scarcely setting foot to earth, 
endlessly side-tracked to make way for train after train 
of soldiers and supplies hurrying north to the battle front 
on the Piave. What they endured and the condition in 
which they arrived can better be imagined than described. 
And there was no welcome awaiting them. They found 
themselves among strangers, often speaking a different 
dialect, by whom they were regarded almost as foreigners, 
whose presence even was sometimes resented — so many 
more mouths to feed in a hungry land. Why couldn't 
they have remained at home ? And then they had to be 
housed in whatever shelters could be found — in barracks, 

ivftded territory 20S,213 

ory cleared for new lighting area 87,562 

^ brougfit in danger of constart air raids.. 131,000 


r deserted factories or requisitioned hotels or villas, always ' 
crowded, and promiscuously herded together. And worst 
of all, they had nothing to do. All their old ties were 
broken, their occupations gone. Their enforced idleness 
was a menace to themaelvea as well as to the community in 
which they were settled. The Government subsidy, of | 

necessity meagre, barely sufficed to keep body and soul 

The Government, the various civil relief societies and 
especially the Italian Red Cross, rose to the occasion and 
did great work, and the people, once they bad recovered 
from the shock and indignation caused by the first report 
of the disaster, gave generously. But many of the things 
imperatively needed, and needed at once, could not be bad 
in Italy for love or money. Rarely has a nation been ' 

more in need or more deserving of help. Help must be i 

given, not merely as a humanitarian measure, but also, 
and chiefly, as a war measure. Imagine the discouraging 
effect on a community, perhaps already somewhat dis- 
affected towards the war, of the sudden appearance in its 
midst of thousands of these tragic visitors, with their tales 
of woe and defeat, and with nothing to do but talk of their 

When the first news of the disaster reached Rome, our I 

Ambassador, Mr. Page, promptly grasping its significance 
cabled to Washington and Paris for help. The response 
was immediate. The War Council of the Red Cross * 
placed at his disposal $250,000 for most pressing needs; 1 

and an Emergency Commission under Major Carl Taylor 
was dispatched from Prance. The feeling in Rome at the 
time is shown in the brief telegram at once sent back to i 

Paris : " The most pressing emergency of the war is here | 

ia Italy. All forms medical and hospital supplies much i 

needed. Refugee problem very great." On November 

» Wlienerer througliout this book the words " tlie Red Cross " ap- 
pear without further qualilicatioQ the American Bed Croaa ia meajit, 
I ~* usage odiqited for brevity'a saJce. ^ 


4y the papers printed a message received from the Red 
Cross Headquarters at Washington annoimcing the inten- 
tion to send immediately a permanent commission, and 
conveying assurance to the people of Italy that nothing 
that could be done would be left undone to assure them 
" in their present sacrifice and heroism of the cordial and 
continued support in every possible way of the American 
people." A telegram was sent to Paris asking for the sup- 
plies most urgently needed and within thirty-six hours 
after its receipt twenty-four cars were loaded and ready to 
leave, though the departure of the train was delayed a few 
days by the congestion of traffic. When once it left, per^ 
sonally conducted by a Red Cross representative, it got 
through, in spite of all difficulties, in record time. 

For relief work outside of Rome the services of the 
American Consuls were immediately enlisted. They be- 
came, in fact, the pioneer relief workers of the Red Cross 
in their districts. The day of its arrival in Rome the 
Commission had telegraphed to them for information as to 
the number and condition of refugees^ and had sent money 
to those in cities which were known to have pressing needs. 
Their prompt response and the detailed information which 
they sent in enabled the Commission to give efficient aid at 
once throughout Italy. 

The relief work naturally took different forms in dif- 
ferent districts. The Consul at Venice finding that the 
station canteen at Mestre, which had been giving food 
and help to refugees and wounded soldiers, was about to 
cease operations for lack of funds, arranged for its con- 
tinuance imder the American flag. Venice had been 
brought, by the establishment of the new line, dangerously 
near the enemy guns and was exposed to constant raids. 
The people were leaving as fast as means of transportation 
could be found, and, as a first step in cooperating in an 
orderly evacuation, he opened a Red Cross canteen at 
3 Consul at Milan reported the most urgent need to 


be the housing of refugees. He organized an active Red 
Cross Committee, made up of prominent business men 
resident in that city, and a club house was promptly 
turned into an infirmary and home for refugee women and 
children. A public kitchen was opened for refugees, and 
plans were made for a canteen and rest house at the 

The Consul at Genoa, working with a similar committee 
of Americans there, erected a chalet at the station, which 
was used first for the service of refugees, afterwards for 
that of troops in transit. Other Consuls organized the 
distribution of clothing and food. 

Italian institutions for the aid of refugees were assisted 
with gifts of money, and the sum of a million lire was 
given to the Comitato Romano Organizzazione Civile, 
which had been most effectively carrying on relief work 
for soldiers' families and was proposing to bring refugee 
families within the scope of its activities. During the 
month of November the sum of 460,835 lire was placed in 
the hands of Consuls, either for their direct use, or for 
transmission to local agencies, for relief work with refu- 

"When the first call for help bad come the American 
Kelief Clearing House had emptied its warehouse and 
treasury, giving all that it had. It then turned its of&cea 
over to the Emergency Commission and offered to put its 
organization under its direction. Many of the members 
assisted the Commission in its investigations and not a 
few from that time onward became permanently associated 
with the lied Cross in Italy. Meantime, the Clearing 
House became the agent of the Red Cross in the Roman 
District, much as the local committees of Americans in 
Milan and Genoa were in their communities, and it was 
given one himdred thousand lire at once for the purchase 
of food and blankets for refugee relief work in the stations 
at Rome. As an illustration of the work it did. let one 
instance suffice. One afternoon at four o'clock, word was 




received that 12,000 refugees would pass through the 
Fortonaccio Station, a few miles out on the Boman 
Campagna, the first train arriving at six. Within an hour 
they had tie baggage car on the northbound Florence ex- 
press loaded with supplies, — hama, sausages, chocolate, 
and blankets, and thus had them at the Fortonaccio Station 
before the arrival of the first refugee train. 

One of the moat serious losses sustained in the retreat 
was that of hospitals and hospital supplies. Not antici- 
pating any break, the hospitals had been put well towards 
the front. More than one hundred were lost and, in addi- 
tion, two principal magazines of supplies, considerably 
more than one-third of the entire medical equipment of the 
war zone. By drawing on its warehouse in France, as 
well as by purchase in Italy, the Ked Cross was able to 
deliver many thousands of articles for hospital use. 
There were already in existence many workrooms for the 
making of surgical dressings and these were given back- 
ing, which enabled them greatly to increase their output. 
Seven hundred and fifty tons of hospital supplies were 
ordered from America for immediate delivery, including 
such items as 250 pounds of quinine, 15 tons of chloro- 
form and 25 tons of ether, and all sorts of surgical in- 
struments, — all articles which were greatly needed and 
not to be procured in Italy. Plans were made for the gift 
of ten complete field hospitals of fifty beds each, with an 
overload capacity running as high as 350. 

Five weeks after the Red Cross Commission reached 
Rome, it was able to turn over to the Third Army, three 
complete ambulance sections, each section being made up 
of twenty ambulances, a staff car, a kitchen trailer, a motor 
cycle and two camions. Each section comprised thirty- 
three men, Americans who had seen service in France and 
who came as volunteers. Fifty of the ambulances of this 
service were given by the American Poets' Ambulance 
'"'"-nmittee, which had made a still earlier gift of the same 


number to the Italian Army. In a picturesque courtyard 
of an old Milan palace, gaily decked with crossed Italian 
and American flags, the formal presentation took place in 
the presence of a representative group of important civil 
and military authorities. The cars were arranged in the 
shape of a horseshoe, and in front, one hundred mem- 
bers of the Red Cross Ambulance Corps for Italy, in 
khaki, stood at salute as the bugle sounded and the Gen- 
eral, sent to receive them in the name of the Third 
Army, swung into the yard with his bodyguard of Bei^ 
eaglieri. Shortly afterwards the first section left the 
yard with American flags flying and drew up for a few 
moments in front of the famous old Gothic cathedral, 
where the Mayor of Milan bade them farewell, and then 
Btarted off for the battlefront, amidst the cheers of the 

Only a few days before, America had declared war on 
Austria. The enthusiasm with which that news was re- 
ceived in Italy was unbounded. It had come just at the 
opportune time, when the depressing effects of the great 
defeat were beginning to show most in the remoter districts, 
and did much to counteract them and give the people re- 
newed confidence in the justice of their cause and in its 
inevitable triumph. There was a stirring demonstration 
in Eome, where the crowd packed the square in front of 
tiie American Embassy and all the streets leading up to 
it. They had brought with them three wounded soldiers, 
who were lifted from their carriage to the Embassy steps, 
and when our Ambassador, who had endeared himself to 
the people by his simplicity and friendliness, appeared 
beside them and in a brief speech defined our common 
ideals and pledged America's full support, he was given 
a memorable ovation, which was an evidence at once of 
the loyalty of the people and of their belief in America. 
And to the crowd in Milan, following and cheering our 
Ambulance Section as it started for the front, these young 



men in khaki^ the first Americans to go into action in 
Italj, were the visible evidence of the reality of America's 
war with Austria. 

A beginning was also made by the Emergency Com- 
mission in the work for the comfort and recreation of the 
soldiers, by means of canteens for the men on the way to 
and from the front, and by means of gifts to the men in 
the trenches. But, to the three members of the Com- 
mission who went over Italy making a rapid survey of 
conditions and carrying with them half a million lire to 
enable them to give immediate aid whenever and wherever 
they discovered most crying needs, what made the deepest 
and most lasting impression was ^' the magnitude, the 
seriousness and the heartrending tragedy of the refugee 
problem." The chief efforts of the Emergency Commis- 
sion were directed towards giving aid in the solution of 
this problem. 

The first rush of refugees was over in early December, 
and the problem of aiding them in transit gave way to the 
more difficult problems of relief in the places of settle- 
ment, — helping to restore some semblance of normal con- 
ditions. These covered the primary necessities of clothing 
and food, the improvement of housing conditions and the 
providing of employment. Assistance was given in all of 
these directions. The Bed Cross also made substantial 
contributions to Italian organizations and individuals 
undertaking the care of refugee children. Thus funds 
were given to the granddaughter of Garibaldi to open a 
day nursery for them in Home, and to the daughter of 
Lombroso for a home for refugee orphans in Turin. 

Through the American Consul at Venice, the Eed Cross 
cooperated with the local authorities in their plans for the 
orderly evacuation of that city. Many thousands of 
Venetian colonists were transferred to the towns along the 
Adriatic, in the neighborhood of Kimini, and housed in 
summer viiioo requisitioned for the purpose. These were 
ken^ mble in industrial units and the equip- 



ment of the ahops in which they had worked was fre- 
quently transferred with them. For the benefit of these 
colonists, the Red Crosa established a hospital in Rimini, 
For carrying on the work of the Red Cross, warehouses 
with a total capacity of fifty thousand tons were secured 
in Rome, in the porta of entry, Genoa and Naples, and in 
certain central points of distribution. Orders were placed 
for three million lire worth of supplies in Italy; shipping 
space for fifteen thousand tons was engaged in boats sail- 
ing from Kew York prior to January first; and three 
hundred tons of food supplies were started on the way 
from Paris, 

The aid which the Red Cross gave during its first seven 
weeks in Italy was various, scattering, and immediate. 
It was given at a time when it was necessary to strike at 
once and strike hard. And that is what was done. The 
French and English had been able to hurry troops to Italy, 
which had established a second line defense, in case the 
Piave line should not hold. We were not in a position 
to assist in that way. We came through our Army of 
Mercy — but we came. 

One has nothing but admiration for the promptness and 
efficiency with which Italy took hold of her refugee prob- 
lem, dispersing hundreds of thousands of homeless citizens 
throughout Italy with a minimum of delay in spite of in- 
adequate railroad facilities which were already congested 
by legitimate needs of war; for the systematic assistance 
given them from the beginning to the end of their long 
and painful journey, and for the arrangements made for 
incorporating them into the communities to which they 
were transferred. Equally deserving of admiration was 
the assistance given by the Italian Red Cross, the various 
civil welfare eoromittees, the special committees for 
refugees, as well as the charitable organizations such as 
I the Umanitaria of Milan, The American Red Cross was 
I one agency of relief amongst others. It is hard to 
I enumerate the things that it did without seeming to ex.- 


aggerate their importance. It was all little enough in 
comparison with what Italy herself was doing. But the 
moral effect of the work of the Eed Cross was out of all 
proportion to its relative amount. It was for the people 
of Italy the immediate concrete evidence of the support of 
America. What that meant is shown by a simple little 
incident of the trip of our ambulance men, when, after 
their long journey to Italy by way of Marseilles, they first 
reached Italian soil. After crossing the border they 
stopped and the Chief of the section descended from his 
car. An old peasant woman rushed up to him, and, be- 
fore he could stop her^ fell on her knees and caught his 
hand and kissed it, exclaiming, " Thank God, America 
has come ! '' 

And that, in brief, is what the work of the Eed Cross 
meant : it was palpable evidence of America's presence, of 
her friendship, and of the earnestness of her purpose in 
the war. The Italian people believed in America, in her 
sense of justice, in her strength, in her unlimited re- 
sources, and many there were who said in that hour of need 
when the Red Cross worker appeared, ^^ Thank God, 
America has cornel '' 



Arrival of Permanent Commifision — Campidoglio . „ 

Plana and Ideals — Organization — Civilian Belief and i 
" Inner IVont " 

The Permanent Commissjon of the Red Cross, under 
Colonel Perkins, consisting of thirty-one persons in all, 
arrived in Rome on the 20th of December, 1917. Making 
themselves familiar as rapidly as possible with what had 
already been done, the new men began to assume their 
accustomed duties as, one by one, the men from Francs 
hurried back. Major Taylor, who had been Acting Com- 
missioner of the temporary organization, upon whom de- 
volved the chief responsibility for the extensive emergency 
relief work which it had undertaken, and Colonel Bicknell 
stayed on for some weeks in order to facilitate the merg- 
ing of the old commission into the new, oi', as it came to 
be officially known, the Permanent Commission, and in 
order to give its members time to get their bearings and 
make their plans. 

Officially the history of the Permanent Commission be- 
gins on the first of January, 1918, but should you ask its 
members when its history starts, the date that stands out 
vividly in their memory is the day of the inaugural cere- 
mony, just two weeks later, in the Senate Chamber in the 
ancient Campidoglio on the Capitoline Hill. Here were 
gathered ministers of state, senators, deputies, members 
of the Diplomatic Corps, all conspicuous figures in the 
histoiy of the day, crowding the great, high-domed Hall 
of Senators, to join in the official welcome of Italy to the 
Permanent Commiaaion of the American Red Cross ex- 
tended by the Mayor of Rome, Prince Colonna, and by 

ERIC^ itED CRD^S" tiJ ItIlT 

Deputy Nitti, Minister o£ the Treasury, and Senatfl 
MsTconi of wireless fame. On a Bmall plalfonn in seren 
gilt chairs sat the men whom the others had come to see 
and hear, and standing behind them in their khaki uni- 
forms were officers of the Red Cross. High above hung 
many flags, banners of the Gonfalonieri, and all around, 
filling the amphitheatre, were distinguished men and 
women who responded with enthusiasm to every mention of 
America and every tribute to the Red Cross. The thought 
that runs through all these speeches, variously expressed, 
is the friendship of Italy for America and her strengthened 
confidence in the righteousness of her cause and in its ulti- 
mate triumph, due to America's support. With America's 
entrance, says the Mayor in effect, the civilized world was 
united in the fight for liberty and the independence of 
peoples. Senator Marconi, speaking from his personal ex- 
perience and paying a lofty tribute to the idealism and 
innate love of liberty and fair play which he had foimd 
in America adds, " The friendship of America in this 
struggle is particularly dear to Italy." And Minister 
Nitti sums it up in this striking phrase: " In great crises 
it is not numbers only that count, nor yet mere physical 
bravery, but rather the confidence that comes from the 
knowledge that our cause is the cause of our friends, and 
that, in serving it, our hearts are united with theirs in de- 
votion to common ideals." 

The sincere and spontaneous demonstration in the Hall 
of the Senators that day was at once a tribute to the work 
that had been done and a challenge to the men who had 
come to continue iU It was a memorable and moving 
Bcene. What made it impressive was not merely the 
gathering of notables, nor the warm words of welcome 
and friendship, but the total setting in this historic spot, 
the Campidoglio, which in a way, epitomizes the whole 
story of Italy and Rome, ancient and modern — this hill 
tiiat has seen Rome rise and fall and rise again, that has 
jations come and go. It was as if the hand . 



of the past were reaching out to take up the troubles of 
to-day and out of them fashion the glories of to-morrow; 
as if a new birth in friendship and good will among na- 
tions, based upon mutual understanding and sealed in the 
service of common ideala, were at hand. The representa- 
tives of the Eed Cross, who had received this tribute in the 
name of America, came away from the meeting at ouce in 
an exalted and in a chastened frame of mind, and with a 
clearer vision of the task before them. Ideals and plans 
that had slowly been taking shape, became defined, prin- 
ciples plain. It is in order to enumerate here some of 
these, for they guided the work of the Commission 
throughout its stay in Italy. First, the spirit in which the 
work was undertaken and carried out was that of modesty, 
one might almost say humility. America had not come 
through the Red Cross in a sense of superiority to " show 
Italy how." Nor had she come to rescue a " demoralized " 
nation. Admiring what Italy had accomplished, and ap- 
preciating what she had endured, the Red Cross had come 
in simple justice and in the spirit of friendship to help 
bear the heavy burdens of the war which Italy had been 
carrying for two and a half years with such courage. 
Moreover the individual members of the organization were 
eimply instrimienta to carry out the will of the army of 
Hed Cross subscribers and workers at home — specially 
privileged in having this opportunity of service. It mat- 
tered not at all whether Smith or Jones did the job, so it 
were done. Name and fame should be forgot. The 
second principle that governed the activity of the Com- 
mission throughout was belief in Italy and especiaDy in 
the people of Italy. This attitude not only bad its effect 
npon the extent of cooperation with Italians and Italian 
organizations, but also upon the character and spirit of 
the work itself and the response which it called forth. 
For it is as true in Italy as it is in America, that belief 
in the people is always justified of its fruits, 

rurtijermore, from the first the work was conacioualy 


^P and deliberately put upon a " win the war " baaia. This 

IB, indeed, a characteristic of Red Croas work which has 
developed in this war and considerably changed the char- 
acter and significance of the Red Cross. Originally it was 
I a non-combatant organization for the relief of suffering, 
treating all alike and knowing no enemies. One still 
thinks of the Red Croaa as primarily concerned with re- 
lief for the wounded and the sick among the soldiers. 
This ia, however, nowadays but a small part of its activity. 
There are other wounds besides those made by enemy guns, 
wounds that reach the entire civilian population. And 

■ every soldier at the front is linked by ties of affection to 
those at home, his mother, his wife, his children. Their 
wounds are his wounds. If they are neglected his courage 
is sapped. In a word, this war has brought into prom- 
inence the importance of what the Italians call the " inner 
front" (il fronte intemo). The army is the nation, not 
merely the men in the trenches, and the work of the Red 
Cross must be correspondingly extended. It is its task to 
heal the wounds on the " inner front." And here, as with 
the soldier, the wounds may be of the spirit as well as of the 
body. This measures the responsibility which the Com- 
mission undertook. It was necessary for the Red Cross 
to go forth to all parts of Italy with healing on its wings, 

I relieving war suffering and strengthening the courage of 
the civilian population by spreading the knowledge of 
America's presence and determination and readiness to 
help to the limit of her resources, and putting new heart 
into them by making them realize that a friend stood ever 
at their aide, 

I It was a big undertaking. Obviously the first thing 
necessary was to recruit a force to carry it through, and 
that at onee. The Commission set out to enlist the serv- 
ices of available Americans who were on the ground, 
artists, connoisseurs and dilettanti, and men and women 
of leisure who bad made Italy their home, Americans mar- 
ried to Italians, travellers caught and held by the war,- 


here a professor of Logic from a Western University, there 
a chorus girl who had sung in a popular light opera, here 
a well known impresario, there a singer who as Carmen 
or A'ida had delighted audiences at the Metropolitan, etc., 
ete., and large drafts were made on the students and teach- 
ing force of the American Academy at Rome, It was, in- 
deed, a motley company, but united in devotion and good 
will. So the organization grew by leaps and hounds, keep- 
ing pace with the rapidly growing work. The few rooms 
kindJy given by the Banca Commerciale were soon out- 
grown and headquarters established in a commodious 
building on Via Sicilia, formerly used as a pension much 
frequented by Americana. The Red Cross was hardly 
established in its new quarters before they were outgrown, 
and a large building next door, once a Russian Club, was 
annexed. The same story was repeated here. The Red 
Cross then took over a Hotel on Via Sardegna whose 
Beven floors seemed ample for any contingency, but were 
flh-eady proving inadequate when the Armistice put an end 
to further expansion. In the meantime the number of 
Red Cross workers had grown from 32 to 949, not in- 
cluding the Italians enrolled, approximately 1000 more. 
It should be added, however, to show the difficulties which 
the Commission had to face, that it was more than six 
months before the force of trained bookkeepers, account- 
ants, stenographers, etc., was adequate to needs. 

The work was organized with the usual triple division 
into Civil Affairs, Military Affairs, and Medical Affairs. 
Back of these was the Department of Administration. 
Each of these departments was under a Deputy Commifr- 
sioner. The Department of Administration included 
Stores and Transportation, Purchasing, Accounting, and 
Puhlic Information, each of these divisions having its 
separate responsible Director. In the early fall, with the 
arrival of the Tuberculosis Unit, a Department of Tuber- 
culosis was added. For convenience of administration, 
Italy was divided into a number of districts, corresponding 


more or less roughly with the political divisions of the 
country: Avellino, Bari, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, 
Iglesias (Sardinia), Milan, ^Naples, Padua, Palermo, 
Beggio Calabria, Eimini, Eome, Taormina, Turin, and 
Venice. This was a sort of Federal system. The Red 
Cross delegate in each district became the responsible head 
of the Red Cross in his territory, representing all depart- 
ments. While he was under general control of the De- 
partment of Administration at Rome, he was given a large 
amount of independence — a plan of organization which 
proved most effective, expediting action, minimizing red 
tape and encouraging initiative. 

One of the first problems that had to be faced was that 
of the storage and shipment of supplies which soon be- 
gan to arrive in great quantities from America — hospital 
supplies of all sorts, food, clothing, and raw materials. 
The goods, arrived at the port of entry, were promptly 
distributed to warehouses and branch depositories through- 
out Italy, whence they could, at a moment's notice, be re- 
distributed to any part of the country, to meet emergency 
needs. The number of warehouses grew to 59 before the 
war was over, with a capacity ample for all requirements. 

Italy's transportation facilities are scarcely adequate in 
times of peace, and in war, in spite of all restrictions on 
civilian use, they were strained to the limit. Red Cross 
material came under the head of war necessities and the 
Government gave every assistance possible for facilitating 
transportation. It carried Red Cross supplies (and for 
that matter, personnel as well, when on service) free of 
charge. But to meet the emergency sure to arise in times 
of special military activity with its increased demands on 
transportation facilities, an automobile freight service was 
established, which made the Red Cross independent of the 
railway; a system of automatic relays from one distribut- 
ing center to another was worked out whereby supplies in 
large quantities could rapidly be concentrated in time of 
nee^ istricts near the front without interfering 

a,\\frican red-cross;. 
- ^initaly" 

'?\ '*»- STORES 

An automobile freight service was establi-hod wliiili unit, 
Red CroBS iiidepcii(lr>nt of the railuHV The hiero};!} phu ' 
dicate the numlier of warehouses, camionB, eeriicG lare 
motor cycleG at each center. 


H^tH the regular work of the Red Cross in other parts of ^^^H 
^^taly, a system which proved its value at the time of the ^^^ 
great Italian Offensive in October. The accompanying 
map will tell the story better than any verbal description. 
The Temporary Commission had been chiefly concerned 
with the Emergency Relief of refugees. This work was 
continued by the Permanent Commission and gradually 
merged into the activities imdertaken for the general re- 
lief of soldiers' families. For some months, however, after 
the Caporetto retreat the military situation remained un- 
certain, and the Italian government continued moving the 
civilian population out of the districts threatened by 
further enemy attacks. This was an orderly migration as 
compared with the early rush of refugees, but scarcely 
less distressing. To alleviate hardships of the journey, 
the Red Cross, in addition to its station canteens, estab- 
lished rest houses near the station at certain transfer 
points such as Bologna and Villa San Giovanni, where 
travel-worn women and children might refresh themselves 
before continuing their hard journey. The Red Cross 
also aided in many ways in making it possible for the 
refugees, torn from their familiar occupations and sur- 
roundings and transplanted in strange lands, to take up 
once more the thread of life in conditions as nearly like 
the normal as possible. It was necessary that they should 
be self-supporting, not weakened and demoralized by a 
dangerous dependence, that their children should continue 
their studies that had been interrupted by the enemy 
cannon, and that family life should continue unshaken. 
And so the Red Cross established schools and workshops 
and sewing rooms. The clothing made in the sewing 
rooms was sold at nominal prices to the refugees them- 
selves or to the poor families of soldiers. Where the 
women came from Venice and were proficient in the art 
of lace making, lace shops were established. Those skilled 
in shoe making, such aa the peasants from FriuH, were 
I . enabled to cootinue the manufacture of Triulian shoes 


V and filippers. The quarters to which the refugees were ' 
assigned were in many cases remodelled and equipped to 
make them suitahle for family life. For example, at 
Chiaravalle an old disused paper mill was divided into 
apartments by means of masonry partitions, was provided 
with sanitary arrangements and with a commimity kitchen 
where the meals of all the refugees were cooked, each fam- 
ily being assigned its particular stove and floor space. In 
Naples the Hotel Victoria was equipped and arranged for 
the same purpose. 

One of the most interesting refugee colonies was that at 
Leghorn, known as the Spreziano colony. The entire 
town of Spreziano on the upper Piave, both inhabitants 
and industries, was transplanted bodily 300 miles across 
Italy and established in a group of unfinished and un- 
furnished villas on a hillside near Leghorn. These villas 
had no conveniences nor furnishings of any kind, lacking 
even chimneys and window sashes. They were remodelled 
and partly furnished by the Ked Cross. Near by was a 
large modern chateau, requisitioned by the Government 
from its German owner, in which the American organ- 
ization established schools for the children, workshops and 
sewing rooms and a public soup kitchen. Besides the ele- 
mentary school studies, the older girls were taught sewing 
and lace making, and the boys were apprenticed in near 
by carpenter and blacksmith shops. As shoe making had 
been one of the principal industries in the far away village 
on the upper Piave, one of the first activities opened here 
by the Red Cross was a shoe factory, in which many 
women of the colony were employed during the day, while 
in adjoining rooms their children attended school. 

One of the most novel and certainly the most extensive 
tmdertaking of the Red Cross for the care of refugees 
was the construction of a Venetian village under the walls 
of old Pisa. Its story is the story of a village that failed, 
failed at least in its original purpose, through unforeseen 
Bad voidable complications. It was an undertaking 



tiiat ■will appeal to Americans, not only because the idea 
back of it was big and generous, but also because the 
refugees to be helped were driven from a town which is 
especially dear to them. Venice, it must be rBmembered, 
had been brought within the fighting zone. She was ex- 
posed at all times to attack from land and sea, and every 
moon was a signal for a succession of bombardments from 
the air. Her industries were shut down, her shops closed, 
communication with the outside world waa difficult and 
food exceedingly scarce, 

Now the Venetian authorities had from the beginning 
been transplanting the civilian population to places of 
safety in colonies, as far as it was possible to do so. By 
keeping them together and transplanting with them their 
industries, conditions of life in a strange land became more 
tolerable. This plan had been carried out quite exten- 
sively along the shores of the Adriatic where there were 
many empty villas which could be requisitioned for the 
purpose. And sites for additional colonies for refugees 
were early sought in Liguria and elsewhere. But old 
communities have a limited capacity to absorb unbidden 
guests. Also they differ much in the kind of a recep- 
tion which they give them. For example, a worker in the 
early days, writing from one of the communities where 
ten thousand refugees had been established, reported: 
" The surrounding country does not supply much and the 
peasants have met with a most resentful spirit the Gov- 
ernment's attempt to commandeer their potatoes, beans, 
etc. The influx of this vast number of new mouths here 
has caused something like panic among the peasants and 
working classes, who seem to fear that they will starve 
owing to this invasion. Any wrong move would precipi- 
tate grave trouble." At the same time in another town 
the situation was reported as most satisfactory : " There 
is an exceedingly patriotic spirit here among the better 
families, and although the town is not large nor wealthy, 
they have organized their relief work to meet the sudd( 


crisis with great efficiency. Eight hundred refugees are 
quartered here permanently. Their needs in clothing, 
blankets, and material are great. They are almost en- 
tirely of the peasant or lower classes. They sleep on 
mattresses, stuffed with straw, on boards. The courage, 
patience and good will of these people is surprising. 
They have organized their establishments with rough 
kitchens, wash-houses, and wash-rooms. The women are 
making sand bags for the trenches at the front. Many 
of the men have found employment in the town, and the 
children are returning to tiie schools. All seems promis- 
ixig for the future." 

Even the most public spirited communities, however, 
early reached the limit of their capacity. In the mean- 
time, the evacuation of Venice continued. Towards the 
end of February our representative, the American Consul, 
wrote : " It is not a question as to whether it would be 
best for these people to move or not. They are going. 
You cannot keep a population in a town a few miles from 
the front, where it cannot support itself, and where it is 
continually bombarded from the skies, and may at any 
moment be bombarded from land, or sea, or both, and 
where an enemy offensive would complicate and intensify 
all of the difficulties. If present conditions continue, 
more than fifteen thousand people, without visible means 
of support, will leave Venice within a short time.'^ 

It was accordingly suggested that the Red Cross should 
go into a new field of activity which meant nothing more 
nor less than the construction of a town for these refugees. 
It was thought that they could be housed in tents or tarred 
paper barracks which could have been rapidly set up. 
Everything must be ready before the March moon, that 
is, before the next bombardment from the air. The Red 
Cross agreed to undertake the work. Then followed a 
series of delays. It was found that the plan to use tents 
or build Ai^nsy temporary shelters was not feasible. It 
wf»^ uded to build more permanent shelters. 


^H using a kind of cement brick made in the valley af^^^| 

^" Pompeii almost adjoining the city that waa bnried under ^ 

the ashes of Vesuvius 2,000 years ago, and out of lapillo, 

a kind of stone erupted by that volcano. Not only the 

Xarch, but also the April moon had come and gone be- 

■ fore the contract was signed. 
A tract of twenty-five acres was secured, requisitioned 
by the Italian Government for the purpose, just outside 
the walls of Pisa. It is picturesquely situated with the 
mountains rising in the near distance on one side, and on 
the other, the town of Pisa with its roofs showing above 

■ the famous Medicean aqueduct built four hundred years 
ago. The plan was to construct a village here which ' 

would accximmodate two thousand refugees and could later 
be expanded if that proved desirable. It was to be a 
village of bungalows, eighty in all, sub-divided into apart- 
ments of varying sizes, with plenty of garden space for 
each family. In addition there were to be eleven other 

I buildings for community use, a kitchen, a school, a store, 
a hospital, a day nursery, a laundry, public lavatories, 
etc. There was to be a public square and playground. 
In short, it was to be a model village. 
When the contract was signed it was hoped that the 
work would be completed by the first of August. There 
were, however, further delays, partly due to causes such 
as are apt to arise anywhere and any time, partly due 
to conditions created by the war. The Armistice found 
the village still uncompleted. It will never be needed for 
its original purpose. It has been turned over to the 
Italian government, which will probably use it as a home 
for the re-ediication of the mutilated victims of the war. 
It was a bold undertaking and appealed to the imagina- 
tion. There was something typically American about 
this plan to construct a little Venetian village, complete in 
every detail, which might give the refugees who were for- 
tunate enough to be sent there, normal conditions of liv- 
ing, in healthful and attractive surroundings; and after- 



wards, when the war was over and they had returned, still 
serve some worthy Eed Cross purpose in times pf peace. 

At the time that the work was begun no one dreamed 
that it w^s only a question of months when hostilities 
would cease. No doubt, could the early ending of the 
war have been foreseen, many plans would have been 
different. Perhaps this village would not have been 
undertaken. It is barely possible that the Commission 
might have attempted to save time by putting up a lot 
of wooden shacks like those we sent in large numbers 
to Messina after the earthquake. But — have you seen 
Messina recently? Those sheds are still there. That 
once beautiful city is now a shanty town through our aid, 
an ugly blotch on the fair face of Sicily. Would you 
have Pisa, the beautiful old town on the banks of the 
Amo bristling with historic memories and rich in price- 
less treasures of art, similarly marred ? There stands the 
famous old leaning tower as it has stood for centuries, 
bending over the city as if with friendly eye to keep 
jealous guard of its honor. We can easily imagine his 
bending over a little farther to watch with mingled 
curiosity and suspicion this American experiment in town 
building just beyond the old city wall. But the sight 
of a city of wooden shacks would have given such a blow 
to his pride that it must surely have sent him toppling 
from his base. The thing could not be done in old Pisa. 
It is well since the after-war use must now be the justi- 
fication of the two million lire which the village has cost 
that the Eed Cross has left a durable and worthy monu- 

The workshops and sewing rooms which had been 
originally established to meet the refugee emergency were 
gradually reorganized and enlarged to meet the more gen- 
eral conditions of distress caused by the war. It must be 
borne in mind that it was at no time any part of the task 
of the Tl(>A Cross to attenipt to cope with the problem of 

Prom first to last its work was war work, 



and win-the-war work, and everything that was undertaken 
for civilian relief had for its object healing the wounds 
of war on the " inner front," and thus helping to create 
that serenity of mind and confidence which were essential 
to victory. And so no one was employed in a Red Cross 
workroom who was not either a refugee or a member of a 
soldier's family unable to get other work and in special 
need because the family bread-winner waa fighting for us 
all at the front. 

As has been said, workrooms for the making of 
were early established for the women proficient in 
art among Venetian refugees on the shores of the Adriatic 
And there were two in Sicily for the making of Cin- 
quecento lace, for which the people of that country are 
famous. Generally in connection with these workrooms 
there were schools where young girls might learn the art. 
And there were shops for woodwork, basket work and 
the making of mattresses from sea-weed, and one where 
flags were made. But by far the greatest number of work- 
rooms were for the making of shoes and clothing needed 
for the children in the care of the Red Cross. And thus 
the money expended was made to do double service, giving 
employment and at the same time providing the articles 
which would otherwise have had to be bought. As leather 
was scarce and dear what might be called substitute shoes 
were made in most of the shops, such as the Capri type 
■with rope soles, or the Friuli type with soles made of 
scraps of cloth quilted together. Then there were the 
native zoccoli, a kind of footwear resembling Chinese 
sandals except that the soles were made of hawthorn wood 
and had heels. It was surprising to see the way the 
children conld run in this impossible and loosely attached 
footwear without shedding the shoes as they ran. Their 
progress was in marked contrast with the sedate shuffle 
and cautions dogtrot of Chinese children in their san- 
dals. By June the sewing rooms were all converted into 
ahops for the making of children's garments, except 

5Cial I 

r U8 I 

atic ^^^ 

jl ahops for the making of children's garments, except d 


that there were certain by-products, for, it being impop- 
tant to economize in material, much ingenuity waa shown 
in utilizing odds and ends. For example, in the work- 
room in Taormina, out of the new material the garments 
were cut, then the larger scraps were used in making 
hats, and then the nest smaller in making soles for 
Friulian shoes, then of the narrow strips rag rugs were 
made, and finally the last remnants were chopped up and 
used for pillows and mattresses. 

An idea of the extent of this work is best gained by 
looking ahead to the final figures reported. There were 
in all 88 workrooms established by the Hed Cross in Italy, 
employing nine thousand women. The total number of 
articles produced was approximately a million and a half, 
with a consumption of two million and a quarter metres 
of cloth. 

The garments were given to the people directly under 
the care of the Red Cross, in refugee homes, orphanages, 
and day nurseries ; or to Italian organizations caring for 
war children; or to needy families whose cases had been 
specially investigated. But in general it was found to 
make for a better spirit if the distribution, outside of Red 
Cross institutions and similar Italian organizations, was 
on a paid basis, and accordingly the surplus would be 
sold for a nominal figure much below the actual coat — 
a few cents a garment. But again, such sales were only 
made to refugees and soldiers' families whose needs had 
been investigated. To help the women whose wage earn- 
ing had to be done in odd moments of household duties, 
yarn was given out for the knitting of socks and sweaters, 
and the women were paid for the work according to 
schedules fixed by the Government. The pay in the Red 
Cross workrooms was always at the rate prevailing in the 
2tive communities, as was obviously desirable, and 
ranged from two to three and a half lire a day. But not 
infrequently the women workers were given tike privilege 
of buying the midday meal at nominal cost in one of the 




Red Cro33 eeoDomie kitchens. The workrooma 
always light, airy and cheerful, aud pervaded by an 
atmosphere of friendlinesa which made them more like 
social centers than ordinary shops. And to them could not 
infrequently he traced an improved tone in the general 
life of the communities in which they were established. 

It was the uniform policy of the Red Cross in its activi- 
ties to fall in line with Italian usage. One of the moat 
widespread means of poor relief in Italy has long been 
the economic kitchen. This is a place where deserving 
poor can procure prepared food at or slightly below cost. 
Social reformers have questioned the wisdom of this 
method of dealing with the problem of the poor, but no 
one could question its value and effectiveness in times of 
war in an impoverished nation when abnormally high 
prices and reduced earning capacity meant that for a large 
number of people the wolf was alwaya looking in at the 
door. So the Red Cross contributed to this form of re- 
lief 30 far aa it affected the refugees and families of 
soldiers both by aiding existing Italian institutions and 
by starting independent kitchens where need was great- 
est. Every case was investigated, generally in coopera- 
tion with Italian authorities and a ticket (tessera) given 
to those entitled to receive food indicating the number 
of rations which the holder could procure. At the noon 
hour at each of these kitchens the line would form of old 
men, women, and children, carrying all manner of bizarre 
receptacles to receive the midday meal, which consisi 
of the thick and savory and nourishing " soup," or m 
eetra, concocted on scientific dietary principles, contaii 
ing beans or peas or rice, with tomato sauce and greens 
and fat and usually meat. The barreled beef and par- 
ticularly the lard and clear-belly bacon sent in such large 
quantities from America proved a godsend to the people 
for whom these foods bad become all but unobtainable. 
Fifty soup kitchens in all came under the care of the Red 
Cross, dispensing most of the time an average of approzi- 


irre ii 

; M 


ens ^^^ 


mately thirty thousand rations a day. Two cents were 
paid for a generous portion. In cases of special poverty 
it was given free. Uncooked food was also distributed 
to a limited number of investigated families in certain re- 
gions where special conditions prevailed, but this was 
not done to any large extent until after the armistice, and 
in the liberated territories. 

For refugee children whose normal life had been so 
suddenly and harshly interrupted the Red Cross estab- 
lished schools, providing teachers and equipment as well 
as food and clothing, the older children being in many 
cases given industrial training in addition to the regular 
schooling. These schools were established where the local 
accommodations were inadequate to meet the increased 
demand due to the great influx of refugees. In some sec- 
tions, Genoa, Naples, and Avellino, there were day nur- 
series for the babies of refugee mothers who were earning 
a livelihood in Red Cross workrooms. 

But almost from the first the care of children was 
not confined to refugees. The Italians have long been 
familiar with an institution which they call asilo, a sort 
of combination of day-nursery and kindergarten. Here 
children from three to six years of age are kept during 
the day, provided with food and clothing and given in- 
struction suitable to their years, leaving their mothers 
free to work. But war conditions and the difficulty of 
getting food had forced retrenchments just at the time 
when need was greatest. Italy has always been rich in 
children, — it is her never-failing crop — and in their 
lives the pinch of war was most keenly felt. Here was 
the opportunity for the Red Cross not only to help the 
children, undernourished and often sickly, to get a start 
in life along the roadway of health, but also to cheer and 
encourage through its efforts the soldier father at the 
front, while at the same time freeing the mother to take 
his place as the family bread-winner. Accordingly some 
of the ** ' * HP struggling institutions were aided, many 


^V were taken over bodily, and more were independently 
I, tablished. In every case the community cooperated, sup- 
plying the quarters and care and sometimes the teacher. 
Buildings would be made over by the Ked Cross, provided 
with modern sanitary arrangements and the rooms made 
bright and cheerful and furnished with blackboards and 
kindergarten supplies. Here the children of soldiers in 
need of care were gathered together and clothed and fed 
and given a play-leader. After the midday meal came 
the inevitable nap, Bometimes in cribs, sometimes in 
cradles supplied by the mothers, sometimes on mattresses 
on the floor, but most often sitting at their desks, their 
heads resting on folded arms. Generally in the after- 
noon they were given milk and a piece of white bread 
("American cake" the children christened it) made with 
flour brought f rom_ America for the purpose. In the Pon- 
tine Marsh district south of Rome there were twelve of 
these asili for soldiers' children whose mothers worked 
in the fields far below the towns perched on the hill- 
tops where the menace of the malarial mosquito of the 
marshea had forced them to make their homes. The prob- 
lem of getting food had been particularly difficult here 
and the children, under-nourished and anemic, fell eaay 
victims to malaria and influenza. More than one marble 
tablet has been erected in appreciation of the work, dedi- 
cated (to give a sample inscription) " To the imperishable 
memory of the glorious deeds for human brotherhood 
gracefully accomplished by the American Eed Cross." 

Not all of the asili were run on the same plan. For 
example in Aasisi which particularly auifered during the 
war from the absence of tourists, where eztreme poverty 
had left its mark in the pinched faces and pallid cheeks 
of the half-clad children swarming as of yore in the nar- 
row streets and public squares, older children were in- 
cluded in the Red Cross fold. There were three hundred 
in all, and every morning they were taken in groups for 
Tecreation to the bills above the town, the hills where St- 


^V Francis i 

^* llloi-1lJ fit 




Francis received his spiritual message. It seemed partio- 

ularlj fitting that the Red Cross should put forth its beat 
efforta in the birthplace of that gentle-aouled saint whose 
creed it was to minister to the poor and suffering. In some 
of the asili the Montessori method was used. And had 
you chanced to go to Genoa you might have found an 
asilo including children younger than usual, housed in a 
building that before the war had been a German club. 
Here babies' prattle and children's laughter filled the 
rooms that once had resounded to the heavy German gut- 
tural voices toasting, perhaps, " the Day " that forced so 
much suffering on the world and crowded the sunshine 
out of so many children's lives. A large sandpile under 
the shade of the cypress trees on a shelf cut into the moun- 
tain side overlooking the bay of Genoa was the children's 
special delight. But you could hardly believe that these 
cheerful chubby babies were the little starvelings that had 
come under Ked Cross care only a few months before. 

No part of the work undertaken for the civilian popu- 
lation in Italy was so much appreciated by the people; 
and none has given so much satisfaction to the Ked Cross 
workers, for the beneficial results were immediate and 
striking, and the gratitude of mothers and of whole com- 
munities most touching. Besides, the children themselves, 
generally pretty and alert and intelligent, always well be- 
haved and responsive, were a continual source of delight. 
And it is probably safe to assume that no undertaking 
of the Red Grose will meet with more general approval 
from the millionfl of Americans whose contributions made 
it possible. The total number of children aided by the 
E^ Cross directly or in cooperation with Italian organi- 
sations during its stay in Italy was 154,704 up to the time 
of the armistice and fully one-third of these were in schools 
and ofiili.' 

1 The A. E. C. also from time to time gare clothing and food (gen- 

■ally milii and white flour) to more than 600 Italian organizations 

tor the care f' -'•''■^Ten. Theee are not included in the above figures. 



By the time summer had come you could ecarci 
to any part of Italy without stumbling across an asilo in^ 
front of whose door the Stars and Stripes and the flagi 
of Italy were entwined. Let it be known in advance that^ 
the Red Cross representative was coming and likely a^ 
not the whole town would turn out to meet him, headed 
ly the Mayor and other officials. Then would come the 
inevitable ceremony at the asilo. Little Maria, age five, 
Tvould step forward and recite a patriotic poem tellings 
«f the wrongs done by Italy's enemies and ending bravely, 
" But we will chase them from our land," and the tiny 
hand would shoot out as if in banishment of the foe. 
And then Eeppino, fat and solemn, would make a speech 
giving his own story as a refugee child, or perhaps proudly 
telling of his father at the front, never forgetting to voice 
the gratitude felt by them all to the American people, 
and always speaking with the graceful gesture and self- 
possession of the seasoned orator. Then there would be 
cheers for America and the Red Cross, and invariably, 
somewhere in the proceedings, the Star Spangled Banner 
(II Veasillo Stellate) sung with much gusto. Tor Cap- 
tain Perret, who before the war was an expert on volcanoes, 
whose favorite haunt was the crater of Vesuvius, but who 
as a Red Cross worker had found a rival for his affec- 
tions in the children of our Naples schools, translated the 
first and last verses into singable Italian, and now our 
national anthem is known and sung by the children all over 

Of the appreciation of this work by the men at the front 
there have come innumerable evidences. In one asilo near 
Milan, the directress brought out for the Red Cross in- 
spectors to see a stack of over a hundred letters and post- 
cards which the soldier fathers bad sent to their children 
in her care. The following is a literal translation of one 
of them. It is longer than moat and better expressed, but 
similar eentiments run through them all: 


*' Dear Leonardino : How glad my heart is to receive 
your card, in which you tell me that you are happy to be 
at the asilo of the American Red Cross. I loiow that 
your mother is also happy to know that you are safe, 
far from danger. Yes, my dearest, the news makes me 
very happy. No longer am I disturbed by the sad 
thought of having left my family voluntarily, in order to 
defend our dear fatherland, because you, my angel, my 
consolation, are safe, nourished by good soup and sweet 

" Is it not enough that I am sure that you are being 
taught at the asilo, among other beautiful things, to pray 
for your father, and to be always grateful to those who 
give you aid, and to love your dear motherland? My 
Leonardino, you must realize that the good Americans, 
defenders of oppressed peoples against barbarous enemies, 
have come from a very far country to give us every sort 
of help, to relieve so much suffering, and to hasten the 
day of victory. Our greatest thanks will always be in- 
ferior to their merits. And you, my baby, are enjoying 
the benefits of their great generosity. 

" When the American gentlemen come to the asilo, you 
my pretty little child, should clap your hands for them 
and shout : ^ Long live America, Long live Wilson, Long 
live Italy.' Your father kisses you tenderly." 

There are many war orphans in Italy. But since the 

work of the Red Cross is of a temporary and emergency 

character orphanages have not been established except in 

a few cases (Cesenatico, Aosta, Aquila) where conditions 

were such as to insure either their continuance after the 

departure of the Red Cross or the care of the children 

by local agencies. It has preferred, instead, to help in 

this direction by giving aid to already established Italian 


^re were, however, certain groups of children that 

not be cared for in any conventional type of institu- 


' tion, children who, in the rush of refugees, had become 
separated from fathers and mothers whose fate was often 
unknown, and others whose mothers had died or become 
incapacitated while their fathers were still in military 
service, A home was eatablished for fifty of these home- 
less boys at Trevi in a beautiful old building, formerly 
a school for Austrian priests, and here in addition to their 
regular studies, they were trained in carpentry and agri- 
culture. An agricultural school was planned for a similar 
group at Collestrada, near Perugia. 

Probably the most interesting school of this sort was 
the one at Monteporzio, just above Frascati, established 
by the Prefect, and later taken over and enlarged by the 
Eed Cross. Here in a fine old seventeenth century mon- 
astery, on a terrace commanding a fine view of the Roman 
Campagna, eighty-six refugee boys between the ages of 
eight and fourteen were cared for, their teachers, and like- 
wise the nuns who did the housework, being also refugees. 
They were given all the advantages of the modem school 
and there were classes in drawing and painting, in which 
some showed considerable aptitude. They were also given 
military training and in their American Boy Scout uni- 
forms would drill and parade on the avenues of the 
monastery grounds, or, on special occasions, might be 
Laeen marching along the streets of Rome. It was hard 
I to realize, seeing these little refugees playing happily in 
P their new home, that they had lately witnessed scenes of 
death and destruction that must have left an indelible 
mark on their souls. Here and there, however, would be 
one whose laughter could not drive away the haunted 
look from the eyes. One of these, a boy of eight, never 
quite succeeded in forgetting the tragedy which had aged 
him beyond his years. 

At two o'clock one morning in the far north, at a school 
where he had been sent by his parents from a small neigh- 
boring town, he was awakened by the cries of the soldiers 
and the yiolent ringing of church bells : " The Austrian' 




are coming, flee for your lives ! " Little Mariano, with 
some fiirty schoolmateB, hurriedly dressed, rushed into the 
street and started southward in the terrible flight. Ninety 
kilometers they walked in a very bedlam of confusion, 
men and women screaming, cannon booming and shells 
exploding all about. Finally at the railway station they 
were hurried into waiting cattle cars and then, just when 
danger seemed past, the train itself was bombarded by 
the guns of the enemy, and of these sixty boys but five 
escaped uninjured, many being killed outright. " Only 
five, and I was one of them, Signore," says little Mariano, 
dropping his head. For some time he wandered from 
town to town until at length he was picked up by a priest, 
himself a fugitive, and finally he found his way to Monte- 
porzio, the school for refugee boys that had just been 
foimded. There is one bright spot in little Mariano's 
story. For one day among the new boys to enter the 
school was a fine looking youth of fourteen, who proved to 
be none other than Mariano's own brother of whom he 
had had no word for seven months. It was a dramatic 
and touching reunion. 

Some of these little fellows have been left in complete 
ignorance of the whereabouts of their parents. Signora 
KipoBtelli, who had charge of the boys before the Red Cross 
took over the school, tells how one day when walking with 
her charges she missed two of the smaller boys and finally 
traced them to a small roadside chapel. There from within 
she heard a small voice raised earnestly: " Listen, these 
violets are not for Signora Eipostelli, I want to leave 
them for the Madonna, because ^e might find my parents." 

Celebnting the ArmiTersary of America's DecUration of 
War — Cash DiBtrihutione to Soldiers' Familiea — Mr. DaTi- 
bod'b visit — Meeting in ColosBeum — Station CacteeDS 

I " Itaty will never get over this defeat. — Now wa't* 
I got the Allies." So we are told the Kaiser exclaimed, 
exulting over Caporetto, No doubt he understood th« 
psychology of his own people and was misled thereby. In 
truth, the mettle of a nation, as of an individual, is shown 
by the way it responds to d^eat. The coward, the savags 
and the slavish cry and throw up their bands and sur- 
render, and then trust to tricks and wiles and crooked 
ways to pull a victory out of defeat. The brave and the 
free set their jaws, gird up their loins, and with fresh, 
determination, return to the fray. Italy, tried by thifl 
test, had not beeu found wanting. Never had she been 
more imited or more determined than she was after Cap- 
oretto, She had found herself through the agony of da- 

But months have passed, the lon^; winter months of pri- 
vation and hardship. December and January were un- 
usually cold and dry, February and March unusually wet 
and raw. Marking time in the trenches under these con- 
ditions was not inspiring, and the news from home grew 
more and more disquieting. The old crop was nearly 
exhausted and the new would not come in for some time. 
Food was scarcer than ever and very dear. There was a 
great shortage of fuel. And the soldier's pay was only 
10(^ a day, with a subsidy of 17^ for his wife and 9fi for 
each child under 12. Except in the manufacturing re- 
gions in the north it was difficult to find employment to 

^^L each 
^1 gions 


^ Tl 


)ad ev^^^^ 


BQpplemeat tliis meagre allowance. The burden i 
on tbe civilian population was greater than it had < 
been before. It was known that the enemy, balked of 
its rich prize just when it seemed within its grasp, stand- 
ing at the very gates of coveted Lombardy, would make 
every effort to break through the Italian lines as soon aa 
tbe weather conditions permitted. Could this sorely tried 
people continue its heroic resistance 't 

The defeatists, pacifists, socialists and pro-Gennana be- 
came more and more active, spreading discontent among 
the soldiers and the rural population. Moreover, Italy as 
■well as France, in the spring of 1918, had its attack ofj 
Boloism. And the famous '' cotton-waste scandals," 
which it was shown that a number of pretended Italiai 
corporations were in reality disguised German firms which 
had been steadily shipping cotton-waste to Germany 
through Switzerland, added to the feeling of uncertainty. 
There were many underground attempts of German propa- 
gandists to weaien the moral resistance of the people. 
Rumors of approaching peace mysteriously sprang up in 
all quarters. One form of German propaganda particu- 
larly menacing and widespread took the form of discredit- 
ing America. It was said that America had entered 
the war in order to prolong it for her own gain, that she 
was not heart and soul pledged to its prosecution, and that 
she could never get ready in time to have any nailitary in- 
fluence on the result There were no American troopa 
in Italy to give the answer. But although there were no 
American fighting troops in Italy, there was a force of 
Americans wearing the United States Army uniform, 
members of the American Eed Cross, and to them there 
came an exceptional opportunity of representing the 
American Army and the American people at a time when 
the situation was most critical. 

It was easier to meet the enemy propaganda and to 
counteract demoralizing tendencies in the large cities than 

the remoter villages and the country districts, and here 


lay the opportiimty of the Eed Oroaa. There ia no part of 
Italy that has not sent it3 quota of citizens to the United 
States. Talking one day with our delegate to Avellino, one 
of the poorer sections of Italy, he remarked : " You know 
this district sends a larger proportion of emigrants to 
America than any other." Shortly afterwards in Sicily on 
the train on my way to Palermo an Italian by my side, 
pointing to a town we had just passed, said: " That place 
has been largely re-built with American money. More peo- 
ple go to America from this part of Italy than from any 
other," and he added, rather sadly : " But you spoil 
them. Their love of Italy brings them back, but their love 
of America makes them unhappy imtil they return." 
Some weeks later in a little town at the other extreme 
of Italy, in the heart of the Dolomites, the Mayor said to 
me almost with pride : " You know we hold the record 
for the proportion of the population that goes to America. 
Sooner or later 30 per cent of them find their way there," 
I know not which, if any, was right, but the fact is that 
everywhere in Italy, America is known at first hand and 
admired as a land of power and plenty and loved as a 
land of freedom. 

The stage was all set in advance to make effective the 
work which the Eed Cross undertook. The plan waa 
simple and direct It was to send at once to every part 
of Italy meu in the American uniform to carry the mes- 

sage of American fri 

.endship and sympathy and of her de- 

termination to spend all of her resources in men and 
means in order to insure victory, and to give the people 
tangible evidence of her determination through a gift of 
money to the neediest and most deserving of the families 
of soldiers at the front. There was to be no limit to the 
nimaber of families aided and the amount was to be meas- 
ured by the needs. It was not charity, but simple jus- 
tice, taking upon our shoulders some of the burden borne 
by the old men, women, and children whose sole support 
waa serving our common cause somewhere in the trenchp" 


— helping them, perhapB, to buy meat where the addition 
of meat to the family table for a few days mi^t mean 
the difference between insufficient and sufficient nutri- 
tion, or to purchase milk for babies underfed, or to obtain 
the warm garment that would help make up for the dis- 
comfort caused by lack of fuel, or, possibly, to get medi- 
cines for the sick at home. 

The Premier, keenly alive to the possibilities of the un- 
dertaking, promptly set in motion the elaborate govern- 
mental and municipal machinery to determine whidi fam- 
ilies of soldiers were to be aided. Meanwhile, Bed Croas 
agents were dispatched to every city, town, and village. 
Telegrams were sent to delegates in distant fields to leave at 
once by the most rapid means of conveyance and travel 
night and day without stopping until every hamlet in their 
territory had received the message from America. All 
other work must for the time being be left to subordinatea. 
Belief must be carried immediately to those to whom the 
war had brought the greatest distress, and it must be 
shown by the actual presence of American officers in uni- 
form that America was at hand with aid. During the 
next few weeks those men of the Bed Cross sped to all 
parts of Italy, carrying the message. It would have been 
hard to go anywhere in the kingdom during that period 
without hearing of their work or meeting them on their 
mission. You might have seen them arriving at district 
headquarters, their automobiles covered with mud or dust, 
their uniforms travel stained, but their faces gleaming 
with enthusiasm, and they themselves never too tired to 
recount with interest the receptions and the many proofs 
of sympathy and understanding that had marked the busy 

The itineraries were carefully planned notwithstanding 
the haste necessary. The Government telegraphed ahead 
the news of the expected arrival of the delegate. At each 
provincial capital the Prefect would meet the American 
representative and at each town he was given a gratify- 


^B' ing demonstration — a apontaneous response from 
^B people which showed their confidence and trust in their~i 
friends in the United States. Generally he was met at 
the city gates by the Mayor, the town doctor, the pariah 
priest, and other dignitaries, and a large crowd of people, 
and escorted to the city hall, showered with flowers andJ 
notes of welcome, while the band played and barefootec 
children ran ahead waving American flags. Then in thaj 
public square the delegate would deliver his message, the 
Mayor and the Prefect respond, and the meeting turn intc 
an enthusiastic patriotic rally. Not infrequently one ob-* 
served women, overcome with emotion, silently weeping 
SS hope sprang afresh in their hearts. For the Italians, 
particularly the peasants, are an emotional people and 
responsive and easily moved by kindliness. 

Everywhere our delegates went they were continually 
running across odd bits of American atmosphere. For 
example, the Mayor of a small village high up in the Apen- 
nines pointed with pride to a captain'g commission which 
hung on his dining room wall. It was a commission in 
the Northern Army of the United States signed in 1861 
by Abraham Lincoln. The Mayor's father had been a 
political refugee in '48 and had led a company of Italians 
during our Civil War. 

Everywhere one met the tragic evidences of war. In 
the little tovm of Fosaombrone 150 children who had lost 
their fathers in the war presented flowers to the Ameri- 
cans; in Umbria two little girls walked five miles to 
present wild flowers to the Americans and to tell the story 
of a father who was a prisoner in Austria, of a brother 
who had been killed months before, and of two brothers 

■ at the front, and so it went, for of such experiences there 
was no end. 
All through the northern provinces Just beyond the 
Austrian line one ran across many specially harrowing evi- 
dences of the havoc of war. In one village were many 
peasants who had refused to leave. A house to house 



distribution was made in tMs territory, and into many of 
these homes the American Hed Cross was able to take a 
message of comfort and sympathy. In one little half 
wrecked house, the American Red Cross party found an 
aged and destitute father and mother mourning over the 
body of their youngest boy, only sixteen years old, killed 
by the same shell that had wrecked their home. The ar- 
rival of the Americans with their messages of comfort and 
assistance seemed to come as a direct answer to their 
prayers to heaven, and they eagerly sent tidings of it to 
their three sons at the front 

In all, 7051 cities, towns, and villages were reached by 
the Red Cross representatives. In each community a list 
of the most needy families had been prepared in advance 
by a committee variously constituted but generally headed 
by the mayor and including the chairmen of local relief 
organizations and the more important civil and religious 
authorities. After consultation with this committee a 
sum of money was left sufficient to accomplish the purpose 
of the distribution. Receipts were taken and blanks sup- 
plied on which the mayor was required to make full ac- 
counting. The total sum distributed was 6,431,000 lire 
and the number of families aided 290,000. And it was 
all accomplished in three weeks' time. 

In most of the towns visited patriotic proclamations 
were at once posted on the walls for all to read, repeat- 
ing the substance of the message of the Red Cross dele- 
gate and rejoicing in the friendship of the two nations now 
bound together more securely in defense of common ideals : 
" For the rights of the people, for the freedom and in- 
dependence of nationalities " (per i diriiti dei popoli, per 
la liberid e indipendema delle nazionalita). And by 
letter and postcard word of the American visit was sent 
by the families to their men at the front, and the hugo 
stack of postcards received by the Red Cross from the 
soldiers themselves expreaaing simple and touching grati- 
tude is eloquent evidence of the effect of this distribution 

^B upon tbi 
^^ many asi 


■upon the spirit of the troops and of the people; and 1 
many assurances were received from official and military 
sources of its immediate beneficial result. It was not the 
gift of money (which was little enough, the maximum 
to an individual family was 100 lire) so much as the 
sight of the Americans in uniform and the message of 
friendship they brought that carried conviction to the 
people that Italy's ally and friend, the foster-mother of 
80 many Italians, was wholeheartedly with them and was 
out to win. The slander of the German propagandist 
simply melted away. 

It was of course to be expected in an undertaking of 
this magnitude, put throtigh with such dispatch, that 
hitches would occur here aud there in carrying out the 
program. Tor example, in one district the Ked Cross 
delegates, carried away by their enthusiasm in the first 
few towns that they reached, distributed so lavishly that 
they had to retrench in other communities near by, and 
this gave rise to invidious comparisons. And in one part 
of Italy where everyone is poor, no one could be found who 
was willing to assume the responaibility of designating 
the most needy, and a general distribution was made, 
which resulted in the amounts being so small in each case 
as to destroy the effectiveness of the work. But these 
were the rare exceptions. The April distribution was 
successful beyond all expectation. It was a fitting cele- 
bration of the anniversary of our entrance into the war. 
It is hard to imagine how America's message could have 
been more quickly, more widely and more effectively de- 

In fact the evidences of success were so overwhelming 
as to suggest the desirability of undertaking as a regular 
Eed Cross activity a monthly distribution to soldiers' 
families. For some time the Commission hesitated. 
While the question was stiH undecided it happened one 
day that two members of the Commission were lunching 
with a famous baritone, well known both in America and 


Europe. His father waa an Italian blacksmith and at the 
outbreak of boBtilities he had returned to his native land 
to fight for hia country. It was a part of his duty at this 
time to conduct sentenced soldiers to prison. He would 
generally asli them for their story. He told of one man 
whom he had recently conducted to prison sentenced for 
desertion. " I was married," aaid the soldier, " only a 
few months before the war. My wife is very pretty. 
It waa a love match. And when she wrote me that she 
was expecting a baby, I used to worry. What could she 
do with 85 centimes a day, all that the Government 
allows, and it allows nothing for children under two 
years, and my wife, — she was so pretty. So I ran away. 
No one discovered me. I worked a whole year support- 
ing my wife and baby, and then when things were getting 
a little better, we talked it over, my wife and I, and de- 
cided it was best for me to go back to the army and give 
myself up. I did, and now — I have been sentenced for 
three years in prison." 

Two votes were won that day for the continuance of 
the distribution. A little assistance from the Red Cross 
would in this case have meant so much. It is in fact a 
truth, borne out from many quarters, that the main cause 
for desertions from the Italian Army has been neither 
cowardice nor lack of patriotism, but devotion to the 
family, for which the Italian is noted, and worrying over 
conditions at home. Kelief from just such anxieties is 
plainly Red Cross work. It was decided to continue the 
financial aid, and the Italian authorities gladly cooperated 
in working out the scheme for the selecting of the bene- 
ficiaries. Each of the generals commanding Italy's nine 
armies recommended every month a stated number of 
soldiers and to the family of each was given 75 lire. 
The official censor would generally get a line from the 
letters written from the front on the cases of greatest 
need, and the officers would recommend for assistance the 
families in special need whose husbands had distinguished 




themselveB by the excellence of their uoldierly conduct a 
the front. The number of soldiers assisted in each army 
was in proportion to the fighting force. Although only 
3,000 or 4,000 families a month were reached in this way, 
different families were reached each time and the in- 
fluence was out of proportion to the number. The women 
who received this assiatanee were filled with pride. The 
gift was a badge of distinction. Everyone in the town 
would Boon hear about it. Also at the front the fact of 
the award was widely known among the soldiers. The 
commanding generals themselves have expressed the warm- 
est appreciation of this service, not only strengthening the 
sympathy and friendship between the American and 
Italian armies, but also reinforcing the soldiers' spirit and 
contributing substantially to the victorious results. The J 
total amount distributed under this plan in the months I 
that followed was 2,099,695 lire. 

During April, Mr. H. P. Davison, Chairman of the ' 
War Council of the American Red Cross, with the Vice 
Chairman, Mr. Eliot Wadsworth, and Mr. Ivy Lee, . 
an inspection trip through Italy which turned into a 
triumphal tour. There were enthusiastic demon s'trationfl 
everywhere they went. Their welcome in each city was 
marked by circumstances that set it apart from the others. 
In Naples the people crowded the beautiful San Carlo 
Opera House, eager to see and hear the man who more 
than any other at that time meant America to them, be- 
ing the commanding general of the only army so far rep- 
resented in Italy. And the spontaneous enthusiasm of 
this reception was simply the harbinger of what was to 
follow everywhere he went. In Florence the great Cin- 
quecento Hall of the Palazzo Vecchio was filled with rep- 
resentatives of patriotic societies gathered to welcome 
him, while the Piazza outside was thronged with cheer- 
ing crowds. At a diuner given by the city authorities 
thB General of the army corps with headquarters in Flor- 
announced that he was so impressed with Mr. Davr 


son's message from America that he would have it read 
as an order of the day to his troops, and the Mayor de- 
clared that he would have it read in all the schools as a 
message from the 11,000,000 children, who were memben 
of the Red Cross, to the children of Italy. In Bologna, 
in recognition of what the Red Cross had done for Italian 
military hospitals, the General commanding the army 
corps stationed there was at the station to greet the 
visitors with a regiment of soldiers, all of whom had been 
wounded in the war. Here, as in Florence, the noBBsage 
from America was made an order of the day to be read 
to the troops. 

But the most impressive reception was that given in 
the Colosseum, symbol of eternal Rome, which even in 
ruins is one of the grandest of the world's structures, on 
the aimiverBary of America's entrance into the war,-t 
day celebrated all over Italy with great popular demon- 
strations. Here were assembled the troops stationed in 
Rome, and picked soldiers who had come from the front to 
carry back to their comrades in arms the message from 
America and the inspiration of the occasion. And all 
around were the people of Rome packed in every avail- 
able comer among the ruins of the vast amphitheatre. 
There were soldiers with medals on their breasts stand- 
ing with people from the poorest quarters in what waa 
once the space reserved for emperors: there were women 
in nurses' veils where once the Vestal Virgins stood: 
little children were perched above the pits from which 
wild beasts had been loosed in the days of pagan Rome 
to fight with gladiators or bring death to Christian 
martyrs. All about the arena were the flags of the Allies^ 
the Stars and Stripes given special prominence. At one 
side a ti*ibune had been arranged for the speakers. The 
welcome was extended by the mayor of Rome and the 
Miniver of Education, and then our Ambassador spoke 
to +"^*^ Italian people on behalf of the people of America. 
t Mr. Davison, speaking in the name of the Red 



Cross, " the collective heart of America," delivered the f 
lowing message; 

" It is perhaps fitting that I should be given the privi- 
lege of addressing you on this most historic spot — fitting 
because I bring a message from millions of American men. 
and millions of American women to the idol of your 
country, His Majesty Your King, to bis Majesty's Gov- 
ernment, to your valiant soldiers at the front and to your 
people throughout this beautiful land of sunny Italy. 
Immediately let me say that I come to you with feelingfl 
above all else of respect and admiration for the efforts and 
the sacrifices your people have so willingly made in a war 
into which you, like the United States, were unwillingly 
drawn. Like the United States you could not remain 
out of this war and retain your national self-respect. 
■Nor could the great traditions of your country have been 
upheld had you aligned yourselves other than against the 
most dangerous foe which has ever assailed the rights of 
free men and free nations. No nation in this war has had 
a. more difficult part to play than Italy, and nobly have 
you played it. 

" As Chairman of the American Red Cross, I wish to 
Bpeak of that organization, but I do so with some hesita- 
tion and diffidence, fearing that some of you might inter- 
pret any comment that I may make upon its developments 
and growth and the work it has accomplished as an evi- 
dence of pride on the part of our people. But I beg you 
to give no consideration to such thought, as it is neither 
in the hearts nor the minds of the American people, their 
attitude being one of complete himiility in their endeavor 
through our organization, the American Red Cross. It 
is, however, necessary to give you some idea of the organi- 
zation in order that you may better understand the char- 
acter of the message which I bring from four thousand 
miles over the sea. 

" One year ago yesterday the United States declared 
w&r on Germany. The American Red OrosB at that time 





had a membership of a little over 200,000 peopla Tch 
day it has a membership of over 22,000,000 people. If we 
include tbo children of the schools, who are junior 
members, it increases the total membership to approxi- 
mately 33,000,000 people. One year ago to-day the or- 
ganization had, throughout the country, two hundred 
chapters. To-day, including chapters, branches and auxil- 
iaries, the organization has nearly twenty-one thousand 
subdivisions, which means that in every city, town and 
hamlet in the United States there is to-day a Red Cross 
organization, in which the women of America are maJting 
surgical dressings and knitting into various articles their 
he^felt love and sympathy. 

" As soon as we were able to effect an organization, w« 
dispatched Commissions, composed of distinguished, rep- 
resentative American men to Trance, to Italy, to England, 
to Russia, to Roumania, and to Serbia. It may not be 
unnatural for you to ask : ' Why did the American 
people take this step? ' They took this step because when 
the United States Government declared war upon Ger- 
many it, hy that very act, acknowledged that the war 
since its beginning in August, 1914, had been for the 
American people as well as for the Allies which have par- 
ticipated. There are no new principles involved. It was 
the same war, with the same common enemy, and there- 
fore the fact was recognized that for all those many months 
previous you of Italy and your Allies had been fighting 
and bleeding and dying for us as well as for yourselves. 
At our entrance into the war we found ourselves totally 
unprepared and realized that it must of necessity be a 
long time before we could take a strong position in the 
line. But we also realized that, pending that time, we 
could, through our Commissions, express in some slight 
degree our appreciation for all that had been done, and 
our sympathy and our desire to help back of the line 
in such a manner as might he possible. 

" I come to you, the people of Italy, under the direction 



E these millions of American men, women and children, 

" with the message that we of America know you of Italy. 
We know of your undaunted courage, of your valor, of 
your chivalry, and of your strength. We know that frmn 
your incomparable land has come to us much that is 
beautiful and inspiring, and that there is no land in the 
world more beloved and admired than Italy by those 
Americans who have had the fortime to be received within 
her hospitable borders. We ask, may we through my col- 
league. Colonel Perkins, and his distinguished associates, 
in some way express to you our sentiments; may we do 
Bomething which may hearten your soldier; may we do 
Bomething which might, in some degree, hearten and en- 
courage his family, may we do something for those who 
have been ruthlessly driven away from their homes, where 
for all their lives they have been following their avoca- 
tiouB, with peace and good-will toward all men ? This we 
ssk you to permit ua to do, not by way of charity, but 
rather as a slight expression of our feeling of admiration 
and devotion to you. On behalf of our people I thank you 
for the spirit in which you have received Colonel Perkins 
and his Commission, and may I say that if the American 
Eed Cross shall be permitted, within your country, to do 
any work which shall prove a comfort to your people we 
shall indeed be gratefuL 

" I am confident in my hope that, through the agency 
of the American Red Cross, there will be established a 
closer relationship between your people and ours, and if 
Buch an understanding could be had between all the civil- 
ized peoples of the world, we could never again become 
involved in such a tragedy as is now shaking the earth to 
its very foundation." 

There were other speeches including one in Italian by 
Congregsman La Guardia. Even the rain which fell in 
quantities towards the end of the day failed to drive away 
the crowd or dampen its enthusiasm. It was a memor- 
able gathering, and everyone present came away feeling 




that America and Italy, traditional friends ever since 
America's birth, were now more closely united than ever 

It must not be inferred from the fact that so far men- 
tion has been made only of the work with the civilian 
population that there had been any neglect of opportuni- 
ties for the various forms of Red Cross activity that deal 
directly and personally with the soldier. As early as 
New Year's day, 1918, gifts which had been prepared at 
the American Church in Rome under the auspices of the 
American Relief Clearing House were distributed to 
soldiers in the First, Third, and Fourth Armies. In 
January a workshop was opened in Rome which prepared 
in all over 100,000 packages for soldiers, each containing 
a cake of chocolate, a pencil, a cake of soap, an American 
Red Cross post card, a handkerchief and a package of ciga- 
rettes. These were distributed to the units of tibe Italian 
army designated by the Military authorities, the distribu- 
tion in each case being made the occasion of a review or 
of some other military ceremony. And there were many 
distributions to soldiers on the lower Piave, in the cold 
winter months, of much needed woolen articles of cloth- 
ing. In Venice soldiers on leave before their return to 
the front were regularly given warm garments, including 
sweaters, socks, and gloves — an average of 3,000 a month 
for the first six months of the year. And there were 
similar distributions on a smaller scale at Taormina. 
Nearly two hundred gramophones were given to units of 
the Italian Army and Navy, which proved most welcome 
to the fighting men of this music-loving people. And 
during the first five months of the year though there was 
relative quiet on the Italian front, our ambulances carried 
over 30,000 sick and wounded, covering in all 260,000 

A chain of station canteens or rest houses {Posti di 
canforto militari) was established at the important rail- 
way ' ■ *ons where large numbers of troops had to wait 


r change trains. These reached all over the peninsula 
and extended even to Sicily and Sardinia, Here hot aoup, 
coffee, lemonade and other refreshnients were given to the 
soldiers free or at a nominal charge of one or two cents. 
Generally there was a room for rest and recreation 
equipped with a gramophone and piano, and there were 
postcards and letter paper and places to write. In some 
instances dormitorieB with bunks and baths were pro- 

Each of the station eanteeus had its unique features. 
One of the largest and most successful was at Ancona 
commodiously housed in a freight shed adjoining the sta- 
tion. It had begun operations in November, 1917, when 
refuses in large numbers were pouring south along the 
Adriatic, serving food and providing for their comfort in 
various ways. When the flood of refugees subsided it 
was remodeled and made over to serve soldiers on the 
transport trains passing to and from the front, and dur- 
ing the period of its management by the Red Cross it 
entertained over six hundred thousand. There was a 
large central mess hall so arranged with four long cement 
counters running down the middle that one thousand 
Boldiers conld be fed in an hour. In addition to the writ- 
ing and rest room for the soldiers another smaller room 
waa reserved for the use of officers. Gay with flags and 
flowers, simply but cosily furnished, and provided with a 
buffet, it ministered to the comfort of Italian, English, 
and French officers while their men were being refreshed 
in the adjoining hall, and proved a pleasant bond between 
these comrades in arms. 

At Milan a portion of the freight yards by the station 
assigned to the Red Cross for canteen use was converted 
into a most attractive place, with a garden bright with 
flowers and vines, a fountain and benches, giving an un- 
expected atmosphere of rest and beauty amidst sordid sur- 
roundings. And there was a comfortable reading, writ- 
iTig. and lounging room, and three barracks for soldiers t' 



sleep in, and shower baths. Walk into this place any ewe- 
ning during the spring or sununer, say at eleven thirty, the 
time cofFee was served to the new arrivals. Quite a nwcor 
her of soldiers are already in line. Passing one window 
they get their cofFee and, drinking as they go, move on to 
another window farther along where the cup must be left, 
an arrangement found desirable, for the cups, made of 
empty condensed milk cans, are much coveted by the 
soldiers and apt to find their way into their pac^ as 
souvenirs. Many soldiers are lounging in the pergola try- 
ing to fathom the beauties of American ragtime issuing 
from the ever popular gramophone. " You Americana 
bring us everything," remarked a peasant one day for 
whom this instrument was still something of a novelty, 
^^you have brought us canned food and now you are 
bringing us canned happiness." Other soldiers may be 
found in the writing room, while another group ia 
gathered about the piano which one of their number ia 
playing. Two of the bunk houses are already filled and 
a third soon will be, for the next troop train is almost 
due. And so it went every day. The Milan rest house 
often took care of one thousand a night, some of them 
only staying a few hours between trains so that the same 
bunk was frequently occupied by two or three different 
soldiers during the night. 

At Naples four women Red Cross workers were in 
charge of the canteen, which was in a large tile hut con- 
nected with the station. They worked in relays on six 
hour shifts, so that the " Posto " was open continuously 
day and night The cheer of their presence added greatly 
to the popularity of this canteen. Here is an extract 
from a report made by one of them : 

"During my shifts this week the number of soldiers 
has been so great that it was impossible to talk individually 
with many of the soldiers, but all seemed happy to enjoy 
the soup and there were many demands for a second help- 
ing, one soldier saying to me : ^ Sister, I told my com- 


f paniotiB that wherever they saw Poato di Conforio Amerir ] 
cano, they would always find good food, like nothing they 1 
had before,' and he added, ' We have not been disap- j 
pointed to-day.' The postcards and writing paper are a ' 
great joy, especially those with American and Italian flaga 
together. When I aaked why they liked tbem better than 
any other kind they answered: ' You see it shows we are 
friends and when we send them to our relations every- 
one can see the flag of the American nation with ours,' " 
On one of the writing tables in this canteen lay a guest 
book, well worn from much handling in which the soldiers 
have expressed in many a homely phrase their enthusiasm 
for their American ally and their appreciation of the 
work of the Ked Cross. Once in a while a soldier, per- 
haps formerly resident in America, would try his hand 
at English, with mixed results. The following is too good 
not to quote : After expressing the wish that " the Ameri- 
can Stars and Stripes may bring peace in the world " he 
adds " Hurry for Uncle Sam ! Hurry for Wilson t 
Hurry for Italy and for our King Victor Emanuel III." 
Perhaps he wrote better than he knew. This was 
written at a time when hurrying for the cause of liberty 
was more to the point than any amount of hurrahing. 


Ttolling Canteens — The June Offensive — A. B. O. AmK^ltT*^ 
Service — The Story of Lieutenant McEey 

Ths Bed Cross maintained a series of rolling Aanf^iflTia 
scattered along the Italian front in the mountains and on 
the plains. They were established either quite near ih^ 
front line trenches or at strategic points a few kilometers 
back on highways where troops regularly passed, though 
rarely so far away as to be beyond the danger zone of ahell 
fire. The officers in command of neighboring troops fie* 
quently permitted their men to leave the trendies in order 
tiiat they might spend some time at the Bed Cross can- 
teens, which became a sort of soldiers' club. A typioal 
unit consisted of a small hut containing the quarters of 
the Bed Cross Lieutenant in charge and also the store 
room, and a large hut adjoining which contained the 
kitchen and the rest room for the use of the soldiers. 
The walls of this room were attractively decorated with 
flags and posters and patriotic inscriptions. Scattered 
about were tables with writing materials and magazines 
and books. Along one side ran a counter over which the 
soldiers were served hot coffee, chocolate, jam, and some- 
times soup. The jam was spread thick on bread which 
the soldiers brought with them, a special treat to men 
so long deprived of sweets. Candy, cigarettes and cigars 
were given out. Each canteen had a phonograph with 
records of patriotic airs and popular songs, and two 
mandolins, a guitar and an accordion for impromptu con- 
o'-- -^or in every crowd there was sure to be a goodly 

ho played some instrument or other. And when 


EraSS^SANTBENS — THE 3VM S'SfS&ftflfif 


conditions permitted provision -was made for out-door 
mes, CBpeciallj bocce (Italian bowls) and football. 
From these canteens as bases supplies were regularly 
ken by camion, mule, motor-cycle or bicycle to the 
'trenches and there distributed by the Red Croas officer 
in person. The appearance of the American uniforms 
was always the occasion of much rejoicing, not merely be- 
cause it meant something to eat and something to amoke, 
but because of the friendly companionship, the joJecs, the 
words of cheer and encouragement, in short, the human 
touch that relieved the dull routine and ruthless brutal- 
ity of life in the trenches. 

The canteens were attached to specific regiments which 
provided the necessary soldier helpers. Each was in 
charge of a Red Cross Lieutenant and the duties required 
of him were such as to tax the resources of the most 
versatile and adaptable temperament. He must possess 
executive ability, courage and coolness under fire. He 
must have a gift for understanding men of another race. 
He must be a man's man and a knower of men and a good 
mixer, equally successful in establishing cordial relations 
with the Italian ofScers and in making friends and win- 
ning the confidence of the men in the ranks. There was 
one message he must always put across and that was that in 
contributing to the rest and comfort and recreation of the 
soldiers the American people through the lied Cross were 
trying to express their gratitude to them for all they had 
done and endured for our common cause during the three 
long years and more in which Italy had been waging war. 
Many ties of friendship were formed which reached 
beyond the individual Red Cross worker to the " gener- 
ous and bountiful America " (a phrase often heard) which 
he represented. The popularity of the rolling canteens 
with the men is very prettily revealed in the following 
word picture of one of them drawn by an Italian and 
published in the Corriere della Sera: 

" The heat is merciless. On the roadside under the 




shade of a cluster of trees stands a hut with an Italian 
flag and a flag showing a fleld of hlue with stars and red 
and white stripes. The soldiers crowd the place. This 
is a rest house of the American Red Cross. You can 
find many of these close to the lines, at points of heavy 
traffic and where it is most difficult to obtain cool drinks 
or to find anything to eat. Here our great American Ally 
brings a lot of good things. Here they place a table, fix 
an awning, spread the Stars and Stripes and the Italian 
flag, and here they stand themselves, smooth-shaven, khaki- 
clad, and with their round caps, offering every good thing 
in Qod's grace to the passing soldiers, coffee, cool drinks, 
bread, chocolate as we once knew it, and crackers that we 
no longer are accustomed to. A real providence, and the 
offering is made with such good, with such cordial fra- 
ternity. The soldiers have already baptized these Rest 
Houses. They call them in a jocular way American Bars 
and when from afar they see on the road the tri-color and 
the Stars and Stripes, they cry ' Let us go visit America.* " 
The service rendered by the rolling canteens varied ac- 
cording to the differing conditions determined by the loca- 
tion o£ the posts. One of these canteens was situated at an 
Alpine post over 5000 feet above the sea, where Italy abuts 
on Switzerland and Austria. Its attractive quarters in 
what was formerly a tourist hotel provided a most wel- 
come and popular club for the soldiers stationed at Santa 
Catarina, and for the troops continually passing to or from 
the mountain posts beyond. But its most distinctive serv- 
ice was carrying hot coffee and other comforts to the sol- 
diers standing guard on the Alpine frontier. Nearly 
every mountain peak had its quota of soldiers. Many 
of these posts could only be reached by tcleferica, 
and the Red Cross officers with their supplies would be 
pulled up to the tops of the peaks in wire baskets 
suspended to a single cable, sometimes as much as 3000 
feet in length and running almost straight up. At times 
the supplies were carried by dog teams, and occasionally 




where hand over hand work was necesaary in 
order to reach the soldiers in their all but inaccessible 
heights. Never were Red Cross gifts more welcome than 
in these lonely snowbound posts. The followiEig extracts 
from a letter written by the officer in charge of this canteen 
describes one of these trips : 

" My friend and I had the pleasure of carrying sup- 
plies two days ago to the highest trench held by the allied 
troops in all the war zone of Europe. It was on a moun- 
tain peak some thirty miles from our post. We were 
furnished experienced Alpine guides by the Colonel in 
charge and climbed to a ledge 11,500 feet high upon which 
rested the little lookout post. The trip from the foot of 
the mountain took four hours. Wo were in the snow every 
foot of the way. On this climb we had to creep through 
two ice tunnels, one being over one thousand feet in length. 
These tunnels are necessary for the soldiers in going to 
and from their posts in order that they may not be ex- 
posed to Austrian fire. At one point a faulty rock forma- 
tion necessitated our leaving the first tunnel and walking 
about one hundred and fifty feet before darting into an- 
other. We managed this in single file at intervals of about 
three minutes. Each of us was greeted with the Austrian 
fire, but while you could hear the bullets distinctly, I only 
saw one strike the snow and that some twenty feet below. 
Finally in order to reach our destination we had to climb 
about 400 feet up a practically perpendicular wall of ice 
and hard snow. Of course we were tied to our guides, 
eight of us strung to a single rope, and, with their as- 
sistance, and the aid of our ice picks we eventually landed 
on the ledge. . . . Perhaps you will say such a trip aa 
this was not absolutely necessary. We might have left 
the supplies with the Colonel and had them sent on by 
e guide. But I assure you that our presence there in the 
distribution added much which the Eed Cross could 
in no other way. . . . 

" To-morrow morning accompanied by a guide I 



taking supplies to a monntain post never yet visited hy an 
American and the Colonel in charge has sent me word to 
be sure and bring an American flag. ... I must say 
that ill Italy, and particularly in this section, the Ameri- 
can nation is looked up to in a manner that makes you 
feel very proud of your country and your people." 

Xear one of the canteens on the Asiago plateau a foot- 
ball field was established, protected from the view of the 
enemy by an ingenious camouflage arrangement, and here 
teams representing English and Italian troops stationed in 
the vicinity were able to enjoy open air sport while as- 
signed to front line duty. And sometimes, when the 
Huns were momentarily off the job, and a good game was 
on, several thousand soldiers would occupy the bleachers 
where the reserved seats were the edges of shell craters. 

One canteen was situated in a very busy center on 
Orappa. The soldiers and particularly the officers were 
most enthusiastic over its establishment and constructed 
the necessary building with great care. The Bed Cross 
officer was anxious to have it finished in a hurry, but they 
insisted on making it a solid substantial structure. Its 
construction was under the direction of a young Italian 
lieutenant for whom it was a genuine labor of love. 
Some time later this lieutenant was killed by the explosion 
of a baud grenade when he was bringing in some prisoners. 
"He was given a military funeral." — The Red Cross 
lieutenant tiien in charge is telling the story — " All the 
officers attended, and as we were coming back from the 
funeral they all stopped at our kitchen for coffee and re- 
freshments. I was talking with the officers near my shack 
when we heard an exceptionally loud explosion and rushed 
forward to see what had happened. We found that a 
shell had fallen right by the kitchen, killing five and 
wounding nine of these soldiers. It was a terrible sight 
and it made the war seem very near, and I could not 
shake off the feeling of responsibility, because if I had 
not men to stop for refreshments they would 


^P have been saved. Sheila fell very frequently in the nei^- ' 

" horhood of that kitchen." ( 

■ • • ■ the 
iiers ^^1 

riods n 

Seventeen rolling canteens were maintained by the 
American Red Cro38, and by the time summer had come 
they were serving some three quarters of a million soldiers 
per month. Since only a few of these canteens wei 
reaching the same men more than once a week it is evidei 
that the influence of this service was very widespread. I 
most important work was done during the long periods 
of relative inactionj for that is when the war most gets on 
the nerves of the men. Perhaps it would be more correct 
to say that great activity changed the character of this 
service, as it changed everything else. 

That activity came, and with a vengeance, in the middle 
of June when the Austrians launched their long looked 
for offensive. It was the supreme effort of Austria. All 
of her effective fighting forces, seventy of her ninety-two 
mobilized divisions, were thrown against the Italian lines. 
The order issued by Field Marshal Boroevic, commanding 
general of the Austrian forces, reads : " Soldiers ! our Em- 
peror and King to-day from the Adriatic to the Alps with 
all his forces launches the attack upon the enemy whose 
treason has made the war last so long. There before you 
lie the positions of the adversary; and beyond, glory, 
honor, good food and abundant war booty." For six 
months Austria had been preparing for this offensive 
which, it was confidently expected, was to mark the end 
of the war against Italy. 

The order of the day issued by General Oonrad von 
Hoetzendorf, in command of the Austrian troops on the 
mountain front, reads : " Soldiers ! for months and montha 
resisting amidst the ice and snow of the mountains, ful-; 
■filling your duty during the terrible storms of winter, yoa; 
have looked at the s unn y and fertile plains of Italy. The 
moment has come to go down and possess them." Aus- 
trian soldiers taken prisoner described the battle as the 
" Hunger Offensive." And every battalion had a requisi- 



tioning section and definite instructions how to requisition 
all food along the road« And the soldiers had he^ urged 
forward hj die promise of booty as well as food Four 
large empty trunks were captured whicdi one Austrian 
officer^ who had already enridied himself by spoils stolen 
from the Veneto after Caporetto, had sent ahead to oonr 
tain the booty he expected to accumulate. 

In the early dawn of the 15th of June oa a front of 
one hundred and fifty kilometers stretching from the 
Astico over the high plateau of the Asiago and Monte 
Grappa to the Piave and along the Piave to the sea, the 
attack began with a furious bombardment by the Austrian 
artillery, which was followed up by a rushing assault that 
carried the front positions of the Italians almost all along 
the line. On the Asiago the British promptly recovered 
the ground they had lost, inflicting heavy punishment on 
the enemy. On the Grappa the battle raged with special 
fury. Fourteen divisions were thrown against the 
Italians at this point in the determined effort to carry 
this height which was the one barrier that prevented the 
free passage of the Austrian forces down the valley of the 
Brenta to the plains of the western Veneto. The lower 
mountains of the Grappa massif more than once changed 
hands. The Italian position was precarious in the ex- 
treme. General Von Hoetzendorf thus described it in his 
order to his troops : " The Italians are like men hanging 
by their fingers to a window sill. All we have to do is to 
smite off their fingers and they will fall down." It was an 
accurate description of the Italians' predicament. But 
the fingers were never smitten off. The lost positions were 
recovered, and after two days of terrible slaughter victory 
rested with the Italians. Grappa once more, as in May, 
1916, and in November, 1917, had saved Italy from in- 
vasion from the north. 

On the Piave line the Austrian success lasted a little 
longer. Eapidly carrying the front line trenches by gas 
attacks and liquid fire under cover of artificial fog, the 

— tea JUNE OFPENSrVff 



Auatrians had pushed on and Bueceeded in occupying half 
of the Montello, a long, low, flat-topped hill that runs along 
the west side of the middle Piave. But thej paid dearly 
for this slight and short-lived victory. In the fierce fight- 
ing that followed, the Montello became a very shambles, 
thickly strewn with Austrian dead. And beyond they 
could not go. In fact the Montello might well be called 
the tomb of Austrian hope. 

On the lower Piave the Italians were pushed back a 
few kilometers, and for a week the battle raged, the line 
swinging to and fro. Here the fighting was on the flat 
farm land and the leaves of the vines and trees so obscured 
the vision that it was hard to tell where the line was hold- 
ing and where giving way. Units were often surrounded, 
and many deeds of bravery are recorded, particularly by 
the intrepid Arditi and the bicycle brigades of the Ber- 
aaglieri whose free mobility more than once saved the 
situation. And the infantry fought valiantly. The 
Italian resistance was stubborn and aggressive, often tak- 
ing the form of counter-attack. Here is a picture, con- 
densed from the statement of an Italian eye witness, 
of one comer of the battlefield ; " It was Sunday 
morning and two of our brigades were marching to the 
attack. The machine guns of the enemy began to work. 
They were everywhere, by the hundreds, under every tree, 
hidden behind every bush. And there were a great many 
wounded, and no time to carry them back. Ambulances 
were asked for, but they had to come there under fire, into 
the middle of the fight. And they came; Italian am- 
bulances, and American ambulances. On some of the lat- 
ter was the legend, ' Gift of American Poets,' " And had 
he gone a little nearer he might have seen on one of them 
on a small brass plate over the driver's seat, " In memory of 
Edith Cavell," and on another, on a similar plate, " In 
honor of Theodore Koosevelt." 

The battle of the Piave was the ambulance boye' op- 
portunity, and they made the most of it Night and 


day they worked, xumdndful of himger and fatigue. 
Sometimes the run was over steep mountain roads cut 
in the side of a precipice, where a slight mistake would 
have sent the car and its occupants over the brink to cer- 
tain death. And these roads were narrow and always con- 
gested with the grim traffic of war. Often the driver must 
feel his way along in the dark, for lights were forbidden. 

Many deeds of individual daring could be told : — haw 
this one went beyond the barbed wire that had been thrown 
down by the retreating army and in the face of Austrian 
gun fire rescued the wounded while bullets rained around; 
how another was at an advanced post which was hit by an 
enemy shell that demolished part of the house and covered 
his ambulance, and, imable to extricate it, hurried back 
for another and returned to the field of battle to continue 
his work of mercy; how others on their way to a front 
post where the fighting was furious were stopped by the 
military police who said it was fatal to go further, and, 
taking advantage of a moment's inattention on the part 
of the guard, slipped by in spite of the warning, and suc- 
ceeded in carrying a number of wounded to a place of 
safety, — with much more of the same kind. But, after 
all, this is simply the familiar story of our boys every- 
where, on every front. There were many narrow escapes 
from death, but fortunately the casualties were few. 
Only one man was wounded and that slightly, and one had 
to spend some time in the hospital as the result of a gas 

Letters of appreciation were received from the different 
commands expressing admiration for the dash and bravery 
of the young Americans and for the efficiency of their 
work. A great many of the men were awarded the war 
cross and some received silver or bronze medals of valor. 
But, as one of them, himself twice decorated, remarked: 
" The difference the decorations imply was generally 
simplv a difference of opportunity, not of bravery or zeal.'' 
T' -OSS field inspector of the ambulance service 



wrote: " It is a pleasure to acknowledge the excellent spirit 
and quality of the men in this service, both officers and 
drivers. I do not believe that a finer body of men ever 
served in an ambulance organization. The men, moat of 
whom reached the front for the first time just prior to 
the offensive, have worked with the greatest willingness, 
courage and efGeiency." 

There were four American Red Cross Ambulance Sec- 
tions in the field during the battle of the Piave. A fifth 
was soon added, bringing the total number of ambulances 
up to one hundred and four, with twenty-five auxiliary 
motor vehicles, manned by an American personnel of one 
hundred and thirty-five men. During the entire period 
of active service in Italy our ambulances carried 148,224: 
sick and wounded, 20,014 being couches, and the aggregate 
runs amounted to 1,050,907 kilometers. The enlistment 
of the original personnel in this service, which had been 
recriiited in France, expired in May. Nineteen re-en- 
listed ; the rest left to enter other branches of service, their 
places being taken by volunteers recruited during the 

• spring in America. 
For a week the battle raged on the Piave Sector. But 
the Austrians, though using all their resources, were un- 
able after the first rush to make further headway against 
the stubborn resistance they encountered. Then the raina 
came, and the Piave was in flood, and communication with 
I their baae wag at many points interrupted. On the 22nd 

■ the Austrians began to fall back, and the following day 
were in full retreat, leaving behind them a trail of desola- 
tion, — trees broken down, vegetation burned, houses and 
cities nothing but heaps of stones and smoking ruins. 
The great offensive had ended in failure. The Italian, 
Army, with the help of the allied divisions on the plateau 
^^ of the Asiago, had defeated the entire army of Austria. 
^K Moreover, the victory of the Piave was the beginning of 
^^K the end of the dual monarchy. 
^^^ In the opening days of July a sharp counter-offensive 


was started by the Italians in the marsh land on flie delta 
between the old and the new Piave. After five days of 
fierce fighting in water and mud, always advancing, the 
last resistance of the enemy was broken, and the entire 
line of the Piave was in Itidian hands. 

Shortly after the Austrian offensive had broken out^ 
through the prompt work of the American Bed Cross dele- 
gate at Venice and with the active cooperation of the 
American Consul, Mr. B. Harvey Carroll, Jr., seven 
emergency canteens were established on the lower Piave 
and put in charge of ambulance men as yet unassigned. 
Sometimes, as the fortunes of battle swayed, the position 
of a canteen became untenable and a new location had to 
be found. But throughout the fight they continued to sup- 
ply the long dusty lines of marching men with articles 
of comfort and sustenance, chocolate, coffee, cigarettes and 
the inevitable tosama — little things that mean so mucdi to 
soldiers whose nerves are racked by the inferno of a sus- 
tained attack. The genuine depth of feeling with which 
the " Viva Americas " were given, to the accompaniment of 
the booming cannon, when the hot food had been consumed 
was at once the Bed Cross worker's inspiration and re- 

The first rolling canteen that the Bed Cross put in the 
field was taken out about the first of March by Lieutenant 
Ed\yard McKey, a New York portrait painter, whose poor 
health had disqualified him for military service. He 
threw himseK into this Bed Cross work with the greatest 
enthusiasm, and in his difficult mountain post his courage 
and tact and cheerful friendliness immediately won the 
love and respect of the soldiers and the officers with whom 
he worked. 

The original plan had been to have the rolling canteens 
towed along just back of the lines in order to better serve 
the soldiers in the trenches, and the kitchen trailers had 
been designed by McKey himself with this end in view. 
"^ this plan did not prove feasible in the difficult 



) and the canteens became more or leB^^^^f 
owcu.uuu.j t-u^^a from which suppiies were carried forward ^^^^ 
to the trenches by whatever means were available, so 
HcKey determined, in June, in anticipation of the Aus- 
trian offensive, to move his kitchen to the flatter field 
near the Piave in order to try out the plan as originally 
conceived. The young Italian lieutenant who accom- 
panied him to hia new post tells this story of the trip: 
" The day was very warm, and the way was long, and 
the country through which we went flat and lacking in- 
Ji terest, and we fell into converaation, I don't remember 
^H any converaation so interesting. He had a most pictorial 
^B style. We talked of all sorts of thinga, — Italian history, 
^^P church painting, and the influence of religion in art, the 
Cappucine monks, and, somehow, that brought us to the 
Eed Cross : ' I never carried a weapon,' he said, ' and I 
think that is the spirit of the Red Cross. We have lost 
some of the spirit 'that inspired the Red Cross in its in- 
ception. We look too much to ranks, make too much of 
military organization. The Red Cross was bom as a 
protest against war and its brutalities. Our task is to 
wipe away the blood of the wounded and to spread the 
spirit of fellowship. The true symbol of the Red Cross 
is not the Sam Browne Belt, but the rope of the Cappucine. 
Yes, that should be our uniform. We should have the 
B&me spirit as those men who in the Middle Ages went out 
to preach to the poor ' — and so he went on talking and 
planning for his work on the Piave, drawing inspiration 
from history and art, from men and nature. Everything 
seemed to come to life, to take on fresh significance, 
through the touch of his artistic soul. . . . When we 
reached Pralunga he received a warm welcome at Head- L 

quarters. He was shown to the small, broken down house 1 

^at had been chosen as his headquarters. It was on the ' 

cross-roads, between Fumaci and Fosaalta, not far from 
the Piave. ' Quite a strategic point,' said McKey ; ' I shall | 

I go to the trenches every day to make my distiibutioa^ ■ 



view of tbo Austrian vedette/ And there I left him hoMj 
making n*udy liis canteen^ and in high spirits ower the o^ 
portunity for service." 

In a letter sent to a friend a day or two later MtXaj 
thus descril)es his new post: '^ Every facility is given nAi 
and in a few days my canteen will be running. I ahaD 
start lK*f(>re the house is quite complete, as they are anx- 
ious for me to get under way. I am lundiing and dinipg 
at the Vivisionej where tliey are most kind and give me a 
horse and cart each day to go to my work. Yea oin 
imagine I make no demands or requests except thoae enr 
tircly necessary for my work, and, in fact^ I have rarely 
had to ask for anything as everything has been done for 
me. I spent my first morning with the Colonel in the 
lines to see my posts and the street where I am to wofk. 
There is wonderful work ihere and I see a great op- 
portunity. I think, however, there is danger of losing 
the outfit with a shell. The street is shelled constantly 
and during the time, about an hour, in which we were in 
the line, some fifty shells came over, striking in or near 
the street. I have, however, found several spota into 
which I can crawl and be quite safe." 

Before this letter reached its destination, Lieutenant Mo- 
Key had made the supreme sacrifice. On Jime 16 in the 
neighborhood of Fossalta, he was consulting with Captain 
Colabattisti, who was in command of a field battery, as to 
where to place his canteen in order to best serve refresh- 
ments to the men. The place was being heavily shelled 
by the enemy and there was little ground suitable for the 
purpose. However, a place was selected and then for a 
few moments they discussed the progress of the hattle. 
" The fine qualities displayed by our men," to quote the 
Captain, " so aroused McKey that he gave free vent to his 
enthusiasm: ^How splendidly the Italians are fighting 1' 
he exclaimed." Those were the last words he uttered, for 
just then an Austrian shell exploded at their side, kill- 
ing him instantly and at the same time seriously wound- 

» 1 



ing Captain Colabattisti, He was buried the next day, 
his grave marked by a plain wooden cross inscribed with 
his name and rank, like the rows of Italian graves beside 
him. A small American flag was placed beside the cross, 
and throughout the battle bis Italian friends kept fresh 
flowers on the grave. Scarcely had the armistice been 
signed, however, before the Italian authorities erected a 
headstone, on which are the crossed flaga of Italy and 
America, with an inscription below in memory of the 
youDg lieutenant whose death was the blood pledge of the 
friendship of tbe two countries. 

This story baa been told at some length because in tha 
manner of his tragic death as in his life McKcy bo per- 
fectly represented the spirit which was tbe inspiration of 
tbe roiling canteen service and the secret of its success. 
His last words express tbe verdict shared by all the Red 
Cross men whose experiences during those stormy days 
in June qualified them to speak ; — shared too, however 
reluctantly, by the enemy. An Austrian officer, taken 
prisoner, declared : " After tbe first day we knew that we 
were beaten. We never expected to meet such spirited re- 
Bistance." And, in fact, the Auatrians bad confidently ex- 
pected to capture Venice within forty-eight hours, and, in 
anticipation of this victory, had had leaden medals made 
representing tbe Austrian eagle about to pluck out the eyes 
of the Lion of St. Mark. Perhaps the designer bad 
prophetic vision: the eagle looks more like an obscene 
vulture than like the king of birds; and tbe lion is most 
calm and unperturbed, as if be too were observing ; " How 
splendidly the Italians are lighting I " 



Surgical Dressings — Hospital Supplies — Hospitals — Dis- 
pensaries — Fighting Spanish Fever — Child Welfare Work 
— Summer Colonies 

Wb are justly proud of the record that America made 
in the great war when once she got under way. But what 
is unique in that record is not the tremendous energy put 
into our military preparations, nor even the splendid con- 
duct of our soldiers, clean, strong, upstanding men whose 
intelligence, dash, and daring called forth universal ad- 
miration, but rather the way in which all America en- 
listed for service. We showed for the first time in history 
how a democracy makes war. The people willed it and 
the people waged it. Universal were the contributions to 
Liberty Loans and to the various welfare organizations; 
everywhere without the compulsion of law the people gladly 
accepted and put into force the recommendations of the 
Food Administration for the conservation of food; and 
everywhere, men whose normal occupation did not contri- 
bute to the war and who were ineligible for military duty, 
women, and even children, eagerly sought some way in 
which they might individually volunteer for service. No 
more striking illustration of this spirit can be found than 
in the mobilization of the women of America for Red Cross 
work until an army of many millions had been mustered 
with chapters or auxiliary groups in every town. It is a 
big story, yet one that is briefly told. Describe the chap- 
ter in your own town and the chances are that you have 
described them all. The rest is figures. It is very much 
the same when one attempts to trace the course of their 

handiwork on reaching its destination. That story also 



I briefly told. The rest is figures. Chapter boxes ar- 
rived in Italy by the thousands.' At first ihey were all 
sent to Kome. Later seven other warehouses were estab- 
lished at different points, chosen so that the largest sup- 
ply of dressings might he distributed with the least possible 
delay in the event of a crisis. Had you entered any one 
of tbeae warehouses you might have seen all parts of 
the country represented — Seattle rubbing elbows with 
New Haven, Boston resting on New Orleans. It almost 
Beemed as if every box Lad come from a different chapter, 
BO that in very truth it might be said that loyal and loving 
bandB all over America were stretched out to help bind up 
the wounds of our soldiers and the soldiers of our valiant 

In connection with seven of these warehouses were surgi- 
cal dressings bureaus. Here the hoses were opened and 
the dressings, white and spotless as when they left the 
home chapter, were sorted and piled on shelves, or stored 
in bins, and sometimes remodeled to meet Italian usage. 
From these centers they were distributed until every " 


^nital was fully supplied. In one of these bureaus, in an- ^^1 

Hucipation of the Italian offensive in October, the necessary ^^H 

^BBSorted supplies sufficient to care for fifty thousand ^^H 

^^rounded were packed and ready for immediate emergency ^^H 

distribution. And these, when the offensive came, were 1 

And these, when the offensive came, were 
hurried in camions to places of need. Tho sudden ending 
of the war left a large stock still on hand. After the 
needs of the redeemed districts and the devastated areas 
had been cared for, the surplus was sent forward to Poland 
and other countries farther east. 

The first thing to get clearly in mind is the absolute 
difference between the work in Italy and that in France. 

' The Chapter Boses shipped to the American Red Cross Coi 
aion in ttaty during the jear 1918 cuntained: Surgical DreeaingB, 
66,507,536! Hospital Supplies, 2,112,609; Hospital GarmeiitB, 2,505,- 
S46: Refugee Ganuents, 273,394; Artidee for Sailore and SoldierB, 
4S2,802; with a. total value of $8,212,336.26. 

'05,- ^^H 



In Italy the need was not hospitals, but supplies. When 
the American Red Cross came to Italj shortly after the 
disaster of Caporetto, the Italians had just lost one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand hospital beds, with all that that 
implies in the way of equipment, and also two main field 
magazines of the Sanitary Service, which had been the 
source of reserve supplies for the hospitals of the war 
zone. While of course the Red Cross could not replace 
all that had been lost, it did replace a good part, especially 
supplyinfj such needs as could not be met in Italy — bui^ 
gicai instruments, auto-claves, rubber goods, etc. 

With hospitals Italy was still plentifully supplied. 
These, however, had often been improvised in school build- 
ings or private villas, and many o£ the smaller military 
hospitals hastily constructed were in want of the most es- 
sential articles. In some cases the American Red Cross 
supplied the entire outfit, and more than once a Director 
has been heard to say that, thanks to it, he had been able to 
continue his work, as it had been all but impossible to ob- 
tain the necessary supplies from other sources. 

Inspectors were sent to the hospitals to investigate and 
discover their needs. Generally these visits were more 
than formal inspections, " I always made a point," said 
one, " of going through the wards and conversing with the 
wounded who were able to talk. They were always glad to 
see the American uniform and a few cheerful words about 
themselves and their families never failed to bring a re- 
sponse, and their touching gratitude for small favors and 
their courage in their sufferings more than once brought 
tears to the eyes. The blind soldiers were, as a rule, the 
most pathetic. When they first enter the hospitals they 
are utterly depressed and indifferent to life, but soon they 
begin to learn some trade and before many months have 
passed become quite expert at it, prodiicing work equal to 
any done by regular artisans. Then I always foimd them 
happy and contented, singing and joking with their neigh- 
bors while at their work in spite of their afOiction.'' And 


00 as our inspectors went on their roimda they continually 
created fresh ties of friendship which will long survive 
the war. 

Sometimes the method of procedure was slightly dif- 
ferent. Instead of sending inspectors first, the officers in 
■charge of the Sanitary Service would be invited to visit 
tiiie warehouse at Padua or at Bologna, where in a large 
room might be found a complete exhibit of all the articles 
which the Red Cross was ready to supply, a goodly and 
tempting array. They were then asked to send in their 
lists, which were later checked up, and the needs invariably 

At first there was some dif&dence on the part of the 
authorities in making known their wants. For the 
Italians are proud and sensitive and scorn charity. They 
would even resort to window dressing in order to appear 
better oil than they were when our inspectors arrived. 
But our Red Cross workers soon made it plain that their 
aid was no more charity than the aid which our soldiers 
were giving in the line. The assistance of the Bed Cross 
was just one of America's ways of trying to catch up, try- 
ing to pay some of the debt we owed to those who had 
already been fighting and suilering for us for three long 
years. And then their attitude changed and they gladly 
received our aid in the spirit in which it was given. 

In al! over two thousand hospitals were aided, many of 

them two or three times. The range of articles furnished 

covered all conceivable hospital supplies — dressings, 

drugs, medicines, disinfectants, surgical instruments and 

appliances, operating room, radiographic and laboratory 

supplies, rubber goods, hospital furniture, kitchen and 

dining room utensils, hospital clothing, linen, and even 

food stuffs, in fact anything which goes to maintain and 

equip a hospital, from a towel to a complete radiographic 

K apparatus or an ambulance, from a silver probe to a ton of 

H ether. When the Red Cross had not the desired article in 

^Lftock it was purchased. 



The significance of this work is out of all proportion to 
the brevity of the tala Would you have a nearer 
vieWy accompany one of our field delegates in the early 
part of 1918 on a trip of inspection to the mountain front 
Plodding along a road continually shelled and hugging the 
mountain side for protection, with a heavy load of 
cigarettes, matches, and chocolate on his back, he stops 
to rest awhile with the picket. But let him tell his own 
story : ^^ It is nearly midnight and the picket has had 
nothing to eat since ten in the morning, for it is difficult 
to get rations up a road that is being shelled so heavily. 
He does not smoke cigarettes. I must remember to bring 
some toscaria cigars next time for these old territorials. 
I gave him some chocolate, but a cigar would have been 
the right thing. Going on, I reach the steeper part of 
the mountain where mules are unable to advance. Long 
files of soldiers are going up. Young boys are carrying 
heavy boxes of ammunition swung on a pole, helping 
themselves up on their knees. Soldiers are coming down, 
some carrying the dead, as in a hammock, others helping 
their limp and wounded companions down the difficult 
moimtain path. Here are the trenches the Italians were 
in yesterday, right under a steep cliff. Forty feet higher 
the Austrians were on top. It seems impossible that the 
Italians could have carried the position. I help myself 
up with a rope ladder. On the top an action is going 
on one hundred yards away and it is best for me to sit 
down in the old Austrian trench. My Lord, how dirty it 
is 1 The Italian trenches were not exactly American bath- 
rooms, but this Austrian trench is filthy. The Italians 
are moving forward; shells are whizzing overhead; the 
small trench mortars make a tremendous noise and the 
reports of the machine guns and mortars are continuous. 
In the bright moonlight I can see the soldiers run across 
a narrow field and throw themselves down in what would 
be the new Italian trench. Dead Austrians are lying all 
around. Daylight comes, and it seems strange to see the 




Kttle pink clouds sailing peacpfuUy over Buch desolation. 

Por a time tic bombardment stops, and then you can hear 
voices floating up from below in the crisp mountain air. 
Two big sbellg strike on the mountain to the left, their 
smoke covering half of the peak. Evidently no harm has 
been done for you soon hear the clear Italian voices sing- 
ing out. Now there is nothing to do but sit in as well 
protected a spot aa possible and wait for the night. When 
it is quiet, we can bear the Italians and the Austrians at 
the same time picking in the rocks to deepen their trenches. 
Some Austrian prisoners are brought in. The Viennese 
is surly. When he finds that I am an American he seema 
surprised and exclaims ' Ach! Amerikanisch. But we 
have whipped the Russians, and you are too late.' A 
yoimg Sard is wounded. I make myself useful carrying 
him down to the first aid station. This is a gallery thirty 
feet deep cut into the moimtain side. Here his wounds 
are dressed. The wounded in the gallery are all serious 
cases. They moan and cry for something to drink. It is 
only possible to wipe their mouths with lemon juice and 
■water. One fine Alpino is lying on his face horribly 
mangled and bleeding profusely. Two young fellows have 
lost their minds and are tied to stretchers. One still be- 
lieves himself to be in battle and yells continually 
' Avanti! Avanii!' Leaving this gallery of horrors I 
carry my wounded Sard down a dangerous and narrow 
pathway, sometimes over thin boards thrown across gaps 
■where shells have dropped, where a false step or break 
in the board would mean a fall of a thousand feet. At 
the clearing station his wounds are again carefully dressed 
and anti-tetanus serum is injected. Then we are packed 
with ten others in an ambulance and taken to the field 
boBpital. But the hospital is full. There are wounded 
lying in the corridors. So we are sent on to another clear- 
ing hospital where my soldier has something to eat. At 
eight o'clock in the evening we are on a train with two 
hundred woimded bound for Vicenza. It takes five weary 



hours to go that twenty miles, and the wounded, especially 
susceptible to oold from loss of blood, are without over- 
coats or blankets. — You may be sure I arranged to have 
Red Cross blankets on that train thereafter. — Finally I 
get my wounded Sardinian to bed in the hospital at 
Vicenza. He had never once complained, and I shall 
always remember his short-cropped bushy head against my 
cheek as I carried him down that mountain side. More 
and more, I visited these first aid stations, and to all of 
them the Red Cross was able to send quantities of articles 
that were needed. 

" Some months later, on the 29th of June, I was on the 
Val Bello. The Italians bad retaken this mountain after 
losing it on the 15th. The Austriana had been surprised 
and not knowing what was coming were shelling the line 
some half a mile back of the trenches they had lost, and 
the stretcher hearers were having exciting runs over this 
shelled district. An Austrian machine gun five hundred 
yards to the right was taking heavy toll of the men who 
went through the last stretch of communicating trenches 
before reaching Val Bello. Here I chanced upon an old 

acquaintance. Corporal M , wounded, and so covered 

with mud that I did not recognize him, but he knew ma 
There were no stretcher bearers at hand, but with my aid 
and the help of a stick he managed to reach the first aid 
station where his woimds were dressed and bandaged, I 
noticed with pride, wirth American Red Cross dressings. 
Then we had no fun in getting across the two hundred 
yards of shelled road. But we finally reached the clearing 
station and there he was taken by ambulance to the ad- 
vanced Field Hospital, which was under the direction of 

Professor R and, four hours after being wounded, was 

comfortably in bed. How smoothly everything was work- 
ing now! What a contrast to the condition in the early 
part of the yearl I came back that night to see bow he 

was. Prof. R was still in his operating room and 

appeared very tired. He and his assistant surgeons bad 


performed one hundred operations that day, most of thea|^^^| 
very seriooa, abdominal and cranial wouuds. But h^l^^ 
stopped long enough to saj to me : ' We are able to do all 
of this work because the American Ked Cross has helped 
' D8 80 much — these rubber gloves, this rubber tubing,^^) 

P these bandages are all yours. I can never thank 7<J^^^fl 
Americans enough.' ^^^^| 

" How often have I heard from the officers : ' You haV^^^H 
made our work easier and better. Tour ambulances al- 
ways instantly answer any call; and in our hospitals 
should a thermometer be broken, should we need instru- 
ments, dressings, sheetSj shirts, anything, the American 
Red Cross has come to our aid immediately and without 
any red tape.' " 

Several large gifts of sanitary materials were made di- 
rectly to the Sanitary Service of the army comprising 
medical and surgical equipment and all manner of hospital 
supplies; two auto-ambulances were given to this service 
and two camions to complete the standard type field hos- 
pital of fifty beds, the equipment for which had already 
been donated by the Temporary Commission. A large 
number of portable disinfecting machines and potabilizers 
were given directly to them. And four laboratories were 
equipped with modem technical apparatus for the experi- 
mental study of certain prevalent diseases. 

Individual hospitals for the care of sick and wounded 
soldiers were given special assistance. For example, one 
hospital was found without adequate water supply and the 
Red Cross took care of this ; in another there was no place 
for persons to go when convalescing and the Hed Cross 
constructed a recreatorio; a clinical laboratory was sup- 
plied to a large tuberculosis hospital at Forte Tiburtino j 
just outside the city of Home. And so it went. These J 
were all insignificant things in comparison with the great I 
work the Italians were doing, but it was a source of satis- \ 
faction to be privileged to contribute even in a small way 
towards the care and comfort of these special victims of 



the war. Perhaps the saddest of these victims were the 
returned tubercular prisoners. Every week a trainload 
of these prisoners arrived at the Forte Tiburtino hos- 
pital. They were sent back by Austria, and were all 
supposed to be in an advanced stage of consumption. As 
a matter of fact only about fifty per cent had tuberculosis ; 
the rest had been starved to the point of death. Go out to 
Forte Tiburtino on a Thursday afternoon when .the prison 
train is due. Of the three hundred who started from 
Austria not quite two hundred arrive. Of the remaining 
one hundred one third have died on the way, the rest 
have been taken from the train because too ill to continue 
the journey. When the train pulls in on the hospital sid- 
ing there are no friends to meet them. There is no sound 
of welcome as they are helped from the cars and totter 
through the gate into the hospital grounds and on into the 
reception room where they are registered. This is not due 
to oversight or neglect. Experience has shown that in 
their exhausted and depleted condition they cannot stand 
the excitement of welcome. They must, if they are to 
be saved at all, be brought back gradually to the land of 
the living. Most of them wear in their caps a small 
American flag, the gift of the Eed Cross workers who sup- 
plied them with food as they passed through Switzerland. 
All are mere shadows of men, utterly listless, all interest 
in life crushed out. Some are quite demented. They 
have no knowledge of what has happened in the past year 
and do not care. Even the return home has failed to rouse 
them from their lethargy. Their minds are blank. They 
can only babble of their hardships and their hunger, how 
they have lived for months on turnip soup, with an oc- 
casional herring, and eighty grams of bread a day, made 
with a large mixture of straw. After registration they are 
sent to another room and stripped. Their clothes, mostly 
rags, are disinfected and sent back to Austria, which makes 
this a condition of continuing the return of the prisoners. 
Stripped, the men are mere walking skeletons, in some 



cases the bonea actually protruding through the flesh. 
They are bathed and disinfected, given clean clothes and 
hot coffee. The mortality is heavy in this hospital in spite 
of the best of care. And of those who recover, the body 
reeponds more readily than the mind. In the late after- 
noon you may perhaps observe aorae three hundred 
patients well enough to walk about, but still dead to the 
world of human interests. They are seated under the 
trees, grouped around a few Y. M. C. A, entertainers who 
with banjo, mandolin, and victrola are trying through 
popular Italian aira to coax their souls back to the land 
of the living. Singing to the normal Italian is as natural 
as breathing. And as a few thin voices here and there 
timidly break into song, one feels that at least some of 
these wastrels of war are being recovered. 

The American Eed Cross established oiJy two hospitals 
for the Italians, and these were for refugees. One was 
on the Adriatic Coast at Rimini and the other was in 
Sicily, at Canicattini Bagni. 

Eighteen thousand Venetian refugees had been housed 
in seaside villages stretching along the shores of the 
Adriatic for a distance of forty kilometers, with Rimini 
approximately as the center. They were without proper 
nourishment or clothiug during the most severe climatic 
conditions that Italy has to offer, and many Buccumbed to 
disease. The small civil hospital at Kimini was utterly 
inadequate to meet the demands, and the American Red 
Cross obtained through the Italian Government the 
Oapizio Comasco situated in this town, a building belong- 
ing to the city of Como and formerly used for summer 
colonies of scrofulous children, remodeled it and turned it 
into a hospital with one hundred and fifty beds. There 
was a larger building for surgical and ordinary medical 
cases and a smaller one with twenty-five beds for those 
suffering from infectious diseases. The Director and the 
entire personnel of this hospital, with the exception of 
the nurses, were Italian, the doctors, for the most part, 


supplied by the Italian Government or volunteering their 
services. At first the nurses were both American and 
Italian, but after the first of June the Italian nurses were 
replaced by American. A special ambulance service made 
it possible for this hospital to care for the sick in this en- 
tire group of refugees, in spite of the distance which 
separated them. During the year of its operation it re- 
ceived 1533 patients, and when it was closed in December 
provision was made for the care of the few remaining 
patients at the Civil Hospital, which fell heir to a good 
equipment of hospital supplies from the Bed Cross estab- 

Canicattini Bagni is a rural mountain town of fourteen 
thousand inhabitants situated fifteen miles west of Syra- 
cuse, with which city it was connected before the war by 
an auto-bus. With the outbreak of hostilities all cars were 
requisitioned for military use, and the isolation of Cani- 
cattini was complete. Life moved on uneventfully in this 
sleepy old town under the clear Sicilian skies, the delicate 
green of the century-old olive trees that covered the moun- 
tain slopes giving an air of special peace and quiet. Only 
the deserted streets and the empty places of fathers and 
sons in the homes brought to these simple country folk 
the realization that all was not well with the world. 

Then one day, almost without warning, the war was 
brought very near, as carriage after carriage rolled into 
the town bringing what seemed an endless stream of 
refugees from the invaded provinces of the north. These 
people had been among the last to leave Udine and had 
experienced the full terrors of the disastrous retreat. The 
horror of it was still written on their faces. And they 
were hungry and half clad and many were sorely in need 
of medical attention. There were over five hundred 
refugees to be housed and clothed and fed by this little 
town already so poor as scarcely to be able to care for its 
own population. Into every habitable nook they were 


'Hospitals — dispensaeies 

A small hospital of twenty beds wag at once opened for 
tiie moat desperately sick, that is, if beds and patients 
can make a hospital, for there was nothing else to indicate 
its use. But it so happened that there was an American 
woman living in this town, the wife of an Italian physician 
who had thrown up his practice in Chicago ten days after 
the outbreak of the war and rushed to the aid of his native 
land, and was aerring at the front, having left his wife in 
this secluded spot. But she was herself also a doctor 
and prior to her medical course had been a trained nurse 
at Battle Creek. To her the Mayor appealed to take 
charge of the newly opened hospital. She at once closed 
her office, moved over her private equipment, which was 
all inadequate, and assumed the heavy burden. Finding a 
couple of promising looking refugees she dressed them in 
sheets and called them nurses and set them to work. Then 
she opened an ambulatory service for patients not needing 
hospital care. Piteous were the cases which came for 
help. It was often warm clothing rather than medicine 
that was needed. All that she had she gave, but it did 
not go very far, and daily she prayed for help. And then 
one day a representative of the American Red Cross un- 
expectedly appeared. " I was so surprised," she writes, 
" to see a real live American after my two years of seclu- 
sion, 30 moved by his typical American business air and 
dash of sympathetic generosity, that I could apeak neither 
my native nor my acquired tongue. He left behind hma 
the first ray of hope. At last we were to have a good sup- 
ply of condensed milk and hospital furnishings. And he 
left money with the Prefect of Syracuse to take care of 
most urgent needs." This is the way the Red Cross 
stumbled across the hospital at Oanicattiui Bagni. On 
March 1, 1918, it was completely taken over by the Red 
Cross and known thereafter as the " Martha Washington 
Hospital." At the same time its energetic directress was 
made local representative of the American Red Cross. 
During the year of its operation (before and after it oame 



under the Bed Crose) this little hospital with its am- 
bulatory service made the following record: 272 patients 
received in the hospital; 1410 medical visits made; 9721 
treatments and medications ; and 70 minor operations. 

And before many days had elapsed our newly appointed 
delegate had in smooth running order^ besides the hospi- 
tal, an asilo with one hundred diildren under six years of 
age, a school of feminine industries, a carpenter diop and 
a school of music. And nowhere in America could you 
find a group of children who could sing the Star Spangled 
Banner better or with more gusto than those Bed Cross 
children at Canicattini. 

Probably no Bed Cross dollars paid better or prompter 
dividends than those spent in the care of the children of 
the soldiers and the refugees who were from the first the 
special charge of the American Bed Cross. Upon many 
thousands of these children the cruel hand of war had 
left its mark in pale faces, old beyond their years, and in 
emaciated halfnatarved bodies which fell a ready prey to 
disease. The American Bed Cross carried on a number 
of activities for the help of these poor little wrecks of 
humanity and had the satisfaction of seeing them in every 
case strengthened in physique, and generally transformed 
after a few months of care into rosy-cheeked, healthy, 
happy, normal children. 

The most widespread of these activities consisted in 
supplementary feeding, that is, the adding of certain 
needed food staples to the diet of children not directly 
under the care of the American Bed Cross. More than 
one hundred thousand children were benefited in this way 
through Bed Cross diet kitchens and through milk and 
flour distributions. Milk throughout Italy was exceed- 
ingly scarce and white flour was unknown. But there is 
hardly a town or village in all of Italy now that is not 
familiar with some brand of American condensed milk. 
Cans literally by the million were used, the milk being 


dilated and dispensed according to the age and need 
the child. White flour, which was uaed in all districts in 
American Red Cross institutions, was in some parts of 
Italy, where food conditions were particularly bad, — 
Naples, the province of Calabria, and Sardinia, — exten- 
sively distributed to Italian institutions caring for orphans 
and children of soldiers and refugees. The American 
Eed Cross established and succeaafully operated nine dis- 
pensaries (not including those established after the 
Armistice in the redeemed districts), which chiefly, but by 
no means exclusively ministered to the needs of children. 
and became also centers for district nursing. They were 
situated at Cesanatico, Bellaria, Chioggia, Genoa, Flor- 
ence, Naples, Avellino, Villa San Giovanni and Taormina. 
The average number of cases treated monthly ranged from 
275 to 8500. One of the most successful of these dispens- 
aries was at Genoa which was nm iu cooperation with the 
local organization, the "Died per Vno," each of whose 
members has assumed the obligation of watching over the 
care of ten children. Since most of these people were 
identified with local charities it was possible through them 
to reach the cases of greatest need. This dispensary while 
under the supervision of the American Eed Cross, was in 
charge of an Italian woman physician. At Florence the 
dispensaries took the form of Aiuti Maiemi, of which 
there were three, each under the supervision of a woman 
physician with a registered nurse in charge. These were 
somewhat similar to what are known as milk stations in 
America except that in addition to supplying the neces- 
sary food for under-nourished nursing mothers and chil- 
dren under the age of five, a certain amount of medical 
advice and care was given when necessary. In general, 
in these dispensaries, the American Red Cross provided 
medical advice, adequate daily care and the necessary 
medicines. E^s, milk, broth and infants' food were 
wherever there was need. In almost every case the 

^^L medicini 
^^M given w1 



Italian doctors served as volunteers^ and to their interest 
and kindly cooperation much of the success of this woik 
was due. 

In the hospital care of children, the Bed Cross has pre- 
ferred to strengthen existing institutions rather than to 
create new ones. In some cases it maintained special 
wards. Thus at the Villa Dini Hospital in Naples it 
provided equipment and medicines and the services of a 
special nurse for a Red Cross ward of twenty-five beds, 
where it was privileged to send children from its own in- 
stitutions. At Palermo it took over a ward of thirty beds 
in a seaside hospital, that it might have a place to send 
children whose cases were too severe for treatment in its 
convalescent home. Wards were maintained in hospitals 
at Florence and Avellino. In Venice there was a new 
and thoroughly modem hospital all but ready to open when 
the big retreat brought the enemy to the gates, and the 
constant menace of invasion paralyzed the life of the city. 
In the fall of 1918 the American Eed Cross with the 
help of local officials completed the equipment of this hos- 
pital, filled it with sick children, most of whom had been 
in its care during the summer, and operated it until the 
authorities were prepared to take it over. 

Convalescent homes, designed to give special care and 
feeding to children threatened with chronic weakness, were 
established in various parts of Italy. Of these the one 
most nearly resembling a hospital in equipment and or- 
ganization was at Taormina in Sicily.^ The institution 
at Milan known as the Convitto Affori was a sort of 
combination of convalescent home and school, and was 
designed to serve as a demonstration center of modem 
methods in physical and mental education. The Ameri- 
can Eed Cross undertook the support for a year of one 
hundred delicate orphans of war and children of soldiers 
at this institution, and remodeled an old monastery for 
its use in accordance with the progressive ideas of the 

1 Set pag9 1^. 


■ ttli 


^Assoeiaxione per le Scuole, an institution well known in 
Ttaly> which will continue to run it. Other convalescent 
homea were established at Albori and Raito beautifully 
situated on the hills overlooking the Bay of Salerno, at 
Bologna (Villa delle Rose), and at Messina. 

As a natural outgrowth of its work for the relief of chil- 
dren, the American Red Cross organized in August, 1918, 
a Children's Health Bureau, which was designed to extend 
the aid and influence of the Red Cross to the homes, and 
make a beginning in individual work for the children who 
had hitherto been eared for only in the mass. For this 
it was first necessary to provide a corps of health visitors. 
These were Italian women chosen because they had a 
background of practical experience and evinced a sincere 
desire for service. They were given a three weeks' course 
of intensive training in the American Red Cross Hospital 
at Milan. This course was partly theoretical — lectures 
by nurses, social workers, and Italian doctors on hygiene, 
the causes and prevention of infection, the care and feed- 
ing of children, the principles of district visitation, and the 
value of play ; partly practical — demonstration classes 
in the care and feeding of babies, the preparation of food, 
Ae cleaning of rooms, the isolation of patients, etc. Great 
stress was laid on the necessity of resourcefulness in the 
use of material at hand, on the importance of cleanliness, 
and on the gospel of light, air, and sunshine. Two clasaes 
were trained at Milan in accordance with this program. 

The plan was to have these women work in groups 
under the direction of someone with special training in 
this particular field, each of the district visitors being at- 
tached to a Red Cross Day Nursery which should serve* 

a demonstration center for the mothers of the neighhor- 
lood and which was to he equipped with the medical sup- 
Itlies necessary for carrying on the work. 

This scheme offered special possibilities in localities 
where the percentage of illiteracy was high and con- 
ee^ently the baneful influence of tradition and aupersti- 


lion particularly strong. Two centers were chosen for the 
initial experiment. One was in the Abruzzi, in five vil- 
lages grouped about the town of Aquila. Each of these 
communities cooperated with the Ked Cross, supplying 
the buildings and sharing the cost of their preparation for 
day nursery uses. The other center was in the Boman 
District where the district visitors were attached to already 
existing Eed Cross asUi at Frascati, Monterosi, and 
Faleria. The sudden outbreak of the influenza epidemic 
delayed the beginning of this work, but as the district visi- 
tors were immediately assigned to their respective com- 
munities to aid in this emergency they acquired a personal 
knowledge of the needs of their communities which proved 
of special value when once the work was begun. 

iSie signing of the Armistice prevented the further 
extension of this form of relief. But in every town where 
the bureau^s workers had been employed the citizens ex- 
pressed the desire that the work be carried on, and the 
American Bed Cross provided means for its continuance 
until June 1, 1919, working through local committees 
which thereafter assumed full responsibility, hoping to 
raise the funds to make these institutions permanent. 

Probably nowhere in Europe is the welfare of children 
regarded more as a matter of public concern than in Italy, 
which is preeminently a children-loving nation. In many 
sections indeed ignorance prevails and the dead hand of 
the past 7/ests like a pall upon the present, producing con- 
ditions tiiat bear hard upon the lives of the children, con- 
ditions that are patiently endured just because they have 
always existed; all of which is apt to give a wrong im- 
pression to the casual observer. One striking manifesta- 
tion of this interest in children is found in the fact that 
in the summer of 1918 the popular summer resorts in 
Italy were largely turned over to their use. The beaches 
of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, the terraces of 
once-fashionable mountain hotels were thronged with chil- 
dren sent for a summer outing by the various Italian 


philanthropic societies. But the poverty produced by the 
war had forced retrenchment at a time when the need 
was greatest, and the American Red Cross stepped in to 
help. For example, an organization of Milan that had 
been in the habit of seeding five thousand chiidrea of 
that city for a month's outing was forced to cut the 
number to three thousand. The American Ited Crosa 
promptly assumed responsibility for the remaining two 
thousand. And scattered over Italy were summer colonies 
for children, some thirty in all, under the banner of the 
American Red Cross, bringing sunshine and health into the 
lives of seven thousand waifs of the war. The children, 
selected from the families of soldiers and refugees, were 
all delicate and threatened with chronic illness, due largely 
to malnutrition and bad housing conditions. 

A typical colony was Monte Luco, a beautiful mountain 
overlooking the picturesque old town of Spoleto and the 
Umbrian plain with Trevi and Assisi in the distance. An 
boar's climb from Spoleto, up a narrow mule path wind- 
ing through a grove of ilex trees, brought one to the top, 
where seven large tents floating the American and Italian 
flags provided shelter for one hundred and twenty chil- 
dren between the ages of four and twelve. Spoleto itself 
took as much pride in this institution as did the Red 
Cross, supplying soldiers to prepare the ground, teachers 
and attendants to take charge of the children and furnish- 
ing lights and telephone, while a doctor and dentist from 
the town volunteered their services, spending a day of 
each week at the camp. The fresh air, the supervised 
exercise and recreation, the hygienic care and, above all,,i 
the liberal and well balanced feeding soon hore fruit. 
Visiting the camp gome weeks after it had been started one 
could hardly believe that these children crowding around 
the Red Cross representative, to give him a welcome such 
as only Italian children know how to give, radiantly happy 
and pictures of health, were the same youngsters who had 
with difficulty climbed the mountain a short time before. 




\m "Witn oimcuity ciimDea me mountain a snore tmie oeiore. ^ 


Even their mothers scarcely recognized them, and the 
gratitude of the soldier fathers visiting the camp when 
tibej returned on leave was most touching. But the grati- 
tude was not confined to the parents. A Ked Cross in- 
spector sitting on the edge of a table talking with one of 
the attendants was nearly bowled over when a little tot' 
of four, who had quietly clambered up on the other side 
of the table, suddenly tbrew his arms around him and ex- 
claimed with genuine depth of feeling "Viva America! 
Viva America 1 *' 

There were six American Bed Cross tent colonies in the 
Island of Sardinia, three in the mountains and three on 
the sea, which were particularly successfuL The Sards 
are proud and often refuse to accept pity or assistance in 
their troubles and misery. And when the Eed Cross 
opened the inscription list for children from one town in 
sore need, not one mother would enroll her child* The 
Committee formed in this town by the invitation of the 
American Eed Cross to manage the camp hit upon this 
clever ruse. They set up in the principal square of the 
city one of the large Ked Cross tents, prepared cots with 
clean linen and fresh blankets, set out the garments made 
for the children, exhibited the white flour, condensed milk, 
lard, and other food supplies furnished by the Eed Cross, 
and over the tent placed the Stars and Stripes and the tri- 
color of Italy. Their pride was immediately conquered. 
Within an hour thirty children had been inscribed, and a 
doctor was busy inspecting them to determine whether or 
not they should be admitted to the camp. The coopera- 
tion between the Eed Cross and the people was more com- 
plete and more intimate in Sardinia than anywhere else. 
The communities benefited adopted the colonies with en- 
thusiasm and worked with a will for their success. Gen- 
erally they were placed in charge of Sisters of Charity 
and managed by a group of leading citizens, whose wives 
made all the necessary clothing for the children from 
materials -^^^ished by the Eed Cross, and frequently 



volunteered their services aa overseers of the camps. 

Especially gratifying were the results obtained in the 
camps on the beaches where the sun cure combined with 
sea bathing and nourishing food brought about cures which 
often seemed almost miraculous. Here the children would 
pass the day in the open air exposed to the sun and dressed 
in bathing suits only, going in bathing or playing in the 
sand according to the prescription of the doctor, watched 
oYer by a group of kindly signorinas. One little fellow af- 
fected with a form of tuberculosis of the spinal column, 
when he first came to camp could not stand up and re- 
mained near the tent unable to move and taking no in- 
terest in the other children. His chance of recovery 
seemed doubtful indeed. Twenty days after he had en- 
tered the camp he was not only on his feet, but running 
and jumping with the other children, having gained over 
twelve pounds in weight. At one of the seaside colonies, 
out of two hundred scrofulous children one hundred and 
seventy returned entirely cured. At all of the camps, here 
as well as on the mainland, the gain iu weight of the chil- 
dren was truly remarkable. 

The mothers often came from distant villages, walk- 
ing many miles to visit their children and were always 
overwhelmed with delight at the care their little ones were 
receiving and their evident improvement in health. The 
news was always promptly sent to the fathers at the front 
who never failed to send warm expressions of gratitude. 

The so-called " Spanish influenza," which was epidemic 
in most countries in the fall of 1918, struck Italy with 
particular severity, especially in the central and southern 
parts, where, owing to poverty and shortage of supplies 
occasioned by the war, undernourishment was imiveraal 
and where it was frequently all but impossible to get the 
drugs, disinfectants, or medical supplies essential for re- 
lief. In some communities as high as fifty per cent of 
the population caught the dread disease. The mortality 
was frightful. Something like a panic seized the people, 


especially the more ignorant peasantry, who were afraid 
to attend the sick or bury the dead or even to do the neces- 
sary washing. 

The elastic organization of the American Sed Cross 
proved its value in this crisis. The different departments, 
Civil Affairs, Medical Affairs, and the Department of 
Tuberculosis, cooperated, concentrating their resources in 
personnel and equipment on the task of fighting the dis- 
ease. In the districts most stricken all regular activities 
of the American Ked Cross were temporarily suspended 
and the personnel at each center transformed itself into 
a nursing and sanitary corps to aid the local doctors. 
Some sixty conmiunities were assisted with anywhere from 
one to a thousand pounds of drugs, disinfectants and other 
medical supplies such as syringes, thermometers, ice packs, 
hot water bags, towels, and handkerchiefs. And con- 
densed milk and beef extract were sent in every direction 
in large quantities. Owing to the difficulties and uncer- 
tainties of railway transportation this relief was, when- 
ever possible, hurried by special messengers in camions to 
places of need. 

In the Avellino district centers of milk distribution and 
of general assistance were established in ten different 
towns. In the city of Avellino, the American Red Cross 
organized and directed street cleaning, house cleaning, and 
disinfecting squads. It also opened a general dispensary, 
and a shelter for children taken from stricken households. 
In Naples, while much work was done in the city itself, 
where a dispensary and children's aid station was estab- 
lished in the Galleria Yittorio, the greatest need was found 
in the small villages of the Posillipo section, where the 
lack of medical and nursing care and the acute shortage 
of milk had brought about alarming conditions. Here 
American Red Cross workers carried on a house to house 
visiting. A center for the distribution of broth and milk 
was promptly established at PosiUipo itseK, which also 


served as a clinic, furnished medicines, and, when neces- 
,ry, clothing and blankets as well. 

One day the Mayor of Sezze accompanied by a doctor 

the Italian Army appeared at American Red Cross 
leadquarters in Rome and told the story of the critical 
conditions that existed in their little town of thirteen 
thousand inhabitants perched on a hill in the heart of the 
Pontine marshes. The people of this town, malarial sub- 
jects from their work in the low-lying fields of the marsh 
district, had fallen easy victims of the epidemic. Six 
per cent of the population had died in two weeks. The 
life of the town was practically paralyzed. Many had 
fled into the country, while others had shut themselves 
up in their houses, so that Sezze with its deserted streets 
seemed like a city of the dead. They had no means of 
caring for the sick, "Within forty-eight hours after hear- 
ing this tale the American Red Cross had a hospital of 
forty beds, thoroughly equipped, established in a building 
that had formerly been a convent, vrith three American 
nurses and an American doctor in charge. The assist- 
ance of the American Red Cross undoubtedly saved this 
town from great disaster. Though it was continued only 
aor a few weeks it gave the people courage as well as an 
Importunity to meet their own difficulties. The town 
authorities showed great initiative and every desire to 
bear their own burdens, asking nothing but to be assisted 
in getting on their own feet. Orphaned children left in 
the wake of the scourge they promptly gathered into a 
local convent, the American Red Cross providing food. 
and clothing and medical care.^ The gratitude of the 
town of Sezze for the help ejrtended by the American Red' 
~ 'oas was feelingly expressed in proclamations posted 

oughout the city as well as in scores of letters from her 

izens sent to headquarters in Rome. 

Probably the largest single contribution of the Ami 
Red Cross to this crisis was the distribution of hun- 




dreds of thousands of cans of condensed milk. Italy was 
suffering from a fresh milk f amine, and American con- 
densed milk which was sent all over Italy came as a 
special boon to the sick children. In the Avellino dis- 
trict alone in the months of October and November half 
a million quarts of properly diluted condensed milk were 


-^■•.|-.%ifEl§-J Jkt 



A Tour through Italy in the wake of the Ked Cross — Genoa -^ 
Turin — Milan — Padua — Venice — Florence 

The chapters that have gone before have given a com- 
prehensive description of the work that the American Red 
Cross accomplished with and for the Italians both on the 
fighting front, through its ambulances and canteens and 
its assistance to hospitals, and on the " inner front," 
through its broad measures for civilian relief. The ac- 
companying map gives a graphic representation of the 
extent and distribution of that work. Its character, how- 
ever, differed much in different localities, and to com- 
plete the story it is necessary to take a rapid tour through 
Italy in the wake of the American Ked Cross, noting the 
unique features that have not as yet been described. No 
attempt will be made to give a complete account of the ac- 
tivities in the different districts nor will the relative 
amount of apace given to the different regions be any indi- 
cation of the relative importance of the work done there. 
Home, for example, where perhaps a larger amount of work 
was done than anywhere else, will come in for but a few 
pages, since most of its activities not already described were 
of the normal kinds. These differences in Red Cross work 
were partly due to the individuality of the delegates, but 
chiefly to conditions determined by the nearness or remote- 
ness from the fighting zone, or by the divergencies in 
cliuiate, prosperity and literacy, which were often very 
great. In the matter of literacy alone the range was from 
11 per cent of illiterates in the Provinces of Piedmont and 
Lombardy to nearly 70 per cent in Puglie, Calabria, and 
Sicily. Owing to these differences and also to the survival 


of rivalries dating from the time when Italy had been di- 
vided into different political units under foreign domina- 
tion, the unity of Italy before the war had been in name 
rather than in fact. That is, while the people all over Italy 
were united in loyalty to the King and devotion to the 
country, they still cherished the old superiorities. The 
people of Lombardy, for example, thought themselves a 
little better than the Piedmontese, were on speaking terms 
with the Veneto, looked with contempt on southern Italy 
and as for Calabria and Puglie, they simply did not exist. 
But during the war many a brigade from the poorer and 
more ignorant sections acquitted itself gloriously in battle, 
and there were undoubtedly some from the more favored 
regions whose record is not above reproach. So one of 
the effects of the war has been to bring about a better un- 
derstanding and a readjustment of valuations, and in the 
process Italy has become united in spirit more than ever 
she was before. 


Americans who have visited Genoa will remember the 
beautiful palace of the King situated on one of the steep 
slopes rising from the harbor. The building is beauti- 
fully landmarked from the waterfront by palms and a 
fountain in the foreground, and above the great build- 
ing of stone with two wings stretching out towards the sea. 
When King Victor Emanuel found that a large space 
would be needed to store the goods coming into the port 
of Genoa from America intended for distribution among 
the refugees and the wives and children of soldiers fight- 
ing at the front, he immediately directed that a part of 
this palace be turned over to the American Eed Cross for 
warehouse purposes. Here in what were formerly the 
royal stables and riding school were stored the supplies 
used in the Genoa District. American bacon and beans 
and barreled beef and flour filled the stalls where once 
the 'worses of the royal family lived in equine 


luxury. But this was only one of many warehouaes in 
Genoa, for almost all of the Amerioan Red Cross sup- 
plies that came to Italy in auch generous quantities 
entered through this port. To handle these auppliea re- 
quired six warehouses on the Genoa docks. Much of the 
material sent to Switzerland for prisoners' relief also 
passed through these warehouses. Incidentally the Eed 
Cross cleared and transported all the Y.M.C.A. supplies 
for Italy, Often the goods were checked into the port 
warehouse and immediately checked out again and started 
for their destinations, the various Ked Cross warehouses 
in Italy. When once the work of the Commission was 
fully under way, an average of from fifteen to twenty 
carloads of goods left the Genoa docks every day, carrying 
far and near the material which kept all the Hed Cross 
ftctivities in Italy going. 


Turin, the first large city reached on entering Italy 
from France, was at all times ready and prepared to give 
the American soldiers a welcome on their arrival, but in 
view of the small number of Americans sent to Italy had 
little opportunity to show how much it could do.^ Ent a 
station canteen and rest house furnished food daily for 
five hundred allied soldiers and cared for three hundred 
at night. 

The city of the automobile, the home of the Fiat, the 
Detroit of Italy, a city of many war industries, there was 
always plenty of work in Turin, and the hardships of war 
■were less in evidence here than elsewhere. Local chari- 
table organizations did much, especially for the children, 
and the American Red Cross gave its assistance largely 
through these institutions, supplying the things that could 
with difficulty be procured in Italy. It did, however, 
organize, equip, and operate three homes for war orphans, 
one of these being comfortably established in a spacious 
I See page 161. 



villa that had formerly been the property of the Gennan 
Consul in Turin. Its large yard with its big shade trett 
made a fine playground for the Red Cross youngsters nho 
established thcniiielves in firm possession and were ahappj 
family. It was a special satisfaction to see this pali^ 
German villa put to such gentle and humane uflSi 
Through the Turin center the Red Cross also provided 
twelve thousand Polish prisoners of war in eamp at with many comforts, such as underwear, socb^ 
and smoking tobacco, not to mention the small item of 
25,000 envelopes and paper. 


The city of Milan received less than its share of reoogni- 
tiou from the tourists of pre-war days. It was regarded in 
the main as a city that had to be passed through on the way 
to more picturesque and interesting cities farther east and 
south, deserving only a brief stop, — long enough for a 
view of the famous Cathedral, and the old market place, 
a tour of the gallery and a glimpse of the remains oi 
Leonardo's masterpiece. But during the past few years 
Milan has come into its own. Capital of the rich and 
populous Province of Lombardy, with its many industrial 
centers, all working overtime to provide the sinews of 
war, the great military center for the armies of the allied 
nations, it has come to be recognized as about the most 
important city of the realnou Now the people of Lom- 
bardy are most loyal ; but there is no doubt that they were 
in a low state of mind after Caporetto, when the refugees 
began to pour in by the tens of thousands, and it seemed 
to be only a question of time when the Germans would 
take Milan. Lombardy was always keenly conscious of 
the war and its menace. For thousands of years when- 
ever there had been a war she had been the coveted prize. 
Also one must remember that the German hold upon 
Milan through control of its banks and industries was par- 
ticularly strong; and while the people hated the Austrians> 


aj was their 

they had been made to believe that Germany i 
friend and would see to it that Italy got her due from 
Austria. So the German propagandists had found an 
especially fertile field here. They worked with the anti- 
war socialists and after Caporetto became particularly of- 

The American Red Cross stepped in when the situation 
was at its darkest and working through the energetic 
American Committee for Relief in Lombardy gave prompt 
and lavish aid. It was necessary to show to the people 
that America was with them in the war and to show them 
at once and in a big way. That mistakes were madej 
that enterprises were started which had to be abandoned 
goes without saying, but the need was for immediate ac- 
tion, and the result sought was achieved. Tor some time 
it was a good part of the task of the American Red Cross 
representatives to go to every public function and show 
themselves. They wore the American uniform and were 
the advance guard of the American Army. The patriotic 
Italians not only worked with them; they played them up. 
As the weeks went on and the refugees became absorbed 
in the life of the community, and the problem of their 
relief less pressing, the work of the American Red Cross 
branched out in every direction until it might be said 
without exaggeration that every phase of the work for 
himianity done under the Geneva flag found expression 

Extending for miles out into the country from Milan 
are flat green fields partly submerged in water. They are 
neither swamps nor marsh lands, those waving fields of 
tender green, bordered by rows of slender willows. They 
ajo the famous rice fields of Lombardy, Here and there 
flcattered across them you might have seen in the month 
of June groiips of half-crouching, half-bending women, 
their feet and ankles in water, their faces hidden by 
drooping broad-brimmed hats, patiently pulling up the 
-weeds. It was a monotonous and back-breaking task, hut 


always enlivened and made endurable by song. For as 
they worked they sang — a sort of chanty at once happy 
and plaintive, quite in keeping with the scene and tiie 
setting, and not unlike the song of the darkies in our 
cotton fields at home. 

One care at least had been lifted from the minds of 
these patient mothers as they worked and sang in the 
rice fields, leaving the younger women free to take the 
places of men in the industries. Their babies were being 
well cared for. The American Red Cross in cooperation 
with the Italian authorities aided in the establishment 
and maintenance of day nurseries for these babies 
throughout the rice district. Like mushrooms they 
cropped up over night, — sixteen in the space of two 
weeks, — some established in public schools, some in 
convents in charge of soft-voiced, black-robed nuns, and all 
provided with yards in which the children played. In 
some of the more pretentious nurseries were rooms with 
rows of wooden cradles, handmade and solidly built, well 
worn from many rockinffs, that have been handed down 
through many generationf Mothers took pride in provid- 
ing their children's cribs with the necessary coverlets, some 
of them marvels of embroidery, done in happier days by 
the women themselves. When the work was over they 
would walk in a body, sometimes several miles, to the 
day nursery in their district to claim their babies. It 
was a pretty sight to see them, the children swinging 
their little baskets, the smallest carried in their mothers' 
arms or toddling along between older brothers and sisters, 
as the family groups wended their way down the road 
towards home, chatting eagerly about the small happenings 
of the day. They were tired, these mothers, from their 
day's work wading and weeding in the ric^ fields, but 
happy in the knowledge that while the little store of 
money was growing that would keep them from want 
during the winter, their children were happy and well 


cared for, getting fatter and rosier each day, thanks 
the food and the sweet rieh milk from America, 

Milan is a thoroughly modern city and incidentally one 
of the hest governed cities in Europe. Ahout the only 
good thing that it lacked that our cities in America possess 
was a children's playground, — not a park where they 
might parade, but a real playground all their own, where 
they might romp and play to their heart's content — a 
playground equipped with swings and teeter boards, fly- 
ing rings and a shoot-tlie-chutes ; and with sand piles, 
and the toys that go with them, for children too small for 
the more hazardous games. The American Ked Cross 
conceived the idea of supplying this lack. The Umanir 
taria, a large and well managed charitable organization 
of Milan, offered the ground, and the thing was done. It 
■was the first playground of its kind in all of Italy, and it 
was an imqualified success from the beginning. A3 many 
as a thousand children a day enjoyed its privileges. 
Groups of children would gather at the gate waiting for 
the hour of nine to come, when the field was open, and 
it was hard to drive them away at dusk when the time 
arrived for closing. All sports had their partisans, but 
the one that aroused the most enthusiasm was the toboggan 
slide. The mats that had been provided for the children 
to slide down on were soon discarded as wasting time, 
or perhaps as taking away some of the thrill, and there 
was often a steady stream of himianity sliding down the 
boards, one child starting before his predecessor had 
reached the bottom. At one side a little refuge had been 
built where the children might come when weary of play, 
and there was the ever present postcard with someone 
always ready to assist the child who wanted to send a 
message to his or her father at the front, and many mis- 
fiivea were sent every day. A trained nurse was always 
on hand to look after the physical welfare of the children. 
And the games were supervised, with the aim of not 

^L on hand 

H^ And th£ 


merely directing the enthusiasm and energy of youth, but 
also teaching the children generosity and team work, 
teaching them to play the game, and training them in 


The sub-districts of the American Eed Cross with 
centers at Verona, Piacenza, and Vicenza, were wholly 
concerned with work that was done directly with the 
soldiers and with extending aid to front line hospitals. 
But the headquarters for all American Bed Cross relief 
work in the Veneto, exclusive of the Venice District, were 
at Padua. Padua had always been a quiet, sleepy old 
town, rich in monuments of the Middle Ages and the 
Benaissance, visited by all art lovers who were especially 
attracted by the frescoes of Giotto and the sculptures and 
great equestrian statue by Donatello. But there was no 
quiet in Padua after the Caporetto retreat Filled with 
soldiers hurrying towards the front, officers' staff cars 
dashing through the narrow streets with open exhausts 
— there were no speed laws in the war zone — and heavy 
army lorries lumbering along making the very ground 
tremble, Padua was always the scene of feverish military 
activity. And night after night, whenever the moon shone 
clear, there were incessant air raids, one following another 
in quick succession, sometimes as many as one hundred 
bombs dropping in a single night. Houses hit fair and 
square simply disappeared, leaving but a heap of rub- 
bish. But it was not an infrequent experience in walk- 
ing along the streets of Padua to find oneself suddenly con- 
fronting a house whose outer wall had been neatly sliced 
off, leaving the interior exposed to full view, the beds and 
other furniture quite intact. Irreparable damage has been 
done to some of the ancient monuments of Padua.* And 
every raid took its tragic toll in killed and wounded. 
These were almost invariably civilians, mostly women and 
children, helpless victims of the crudest phase of the war, 



whoBe injuries or death brought not the slightest advant- 
age to the enemy. Aa many of the population aa could 
had left the city, but many thousands remained. And 
these, in large numbers, whenever the moon appeared, 
would seek refuge in the open fields beyond the town, 
there spending the night as best they could, in all sorts of 
weather. The life of the city was completely disorgan- 
ized. All the industries had either closed down or moved 
away. And the Red Cross problems in Padua were de- 
termined hy these conditions. 

The first step taken was the establishment of a large 
workroom for the making of garments, which ultimately 
employed three hundred women, members of soldiers' 
families, and served the double duty of giving employ- 
ment to the needy and providing in large quantities gar- 
ments for the poor. This workroom was run in close co- 
operation with a local Italian Committee, on whose ad- 
vice the garments were sold rather than given away, both 
because it was felt that giving away was demoralizing 
and because it was clear that the Italian authorities would 
be unable subsequently to continue the precedent of giv- 
ing, so that for the Red Cross to initiate such a program 
would result later in invidious comparison and invite 
discontent. The goods were therefore sold, at the bare 
cost of labor, only those citizens being privileged to buy 
whose eases had been investigated, and these were pro- 
vided with tickets according to their needs. The sales, 
held in the loggia of the Salone della Ragione, were a 
great success, and this method of distribution met with 
the high approval of the public authorities. Towards the 
middle of the year this work-room, like the rest of the 

miuaie ui tue _year luis wurii-ruum, iijiu lub reau ui luw j 

Red Cross workrooms in Italy, made children's clothes J 

only, and these were used in Red Cross institutions, the M 

public sales being discontinued, fl 

Universal unemployment had caused an unprecedented ■ 

demand upon the public kitchens that had been established J 
1^^ by local Italian organizations, and the Bed Cross, by the^^J 

I , M 


generous supply of food stuffs from America, enabled them 
to meet this demand and continue their good work. 

There were a number of asili for the children of Padua 
already in existence and these were all assisted by the 
Red Cross with food and clothing. Outside the city of 
Padua, in widely scattered districts distributed throu^- 
out the whole of the Veneto, the Red Cross established 
its own institutions for children, until over six thousand 
in all had been brought directly or indirectly under its 

Fully half of these were real waifs of the war who 
had lived for three years in the midst of the back-wash 
of the fighting armies, within the sound of the guns that 
had made many of them orphans. There were fourteen of 
these institutions in the vicinity of the war zone. The 
smallest of all, but in its human aspect the most appeal- 
ing, was an orphanage for girls which had been so battered 
about by the hazards of war that its original number of 
one hundred had been reduced to thirteen. This orphan- 
age had been founded in 1901 at Materello, a town that the 
pre-war maps place in Austria, but that in reality was in 
the heart of the Italian region of the Trentino. This in- 
stitution had been foimded in order to give to " the futoire 
mothers of the Trentino a Christian education full of 
healthy patriotic sentiments, strictly Italian." This was 
not an easy matter under the eyes of the strict Austrian 
administration. But the Sisters in charge found many 
ways to express their sentiments. Their habit was white 
with a narrow piping of green and the device of their 
order displayed on a red background, thus ingeniously 
flaunting the Italian colors in the very face of the Austrian 
oppressor. At the beginning of the war the Sisters had 
been ordered by the Austrian authorities to remove their 
little charges farther back into the interior. They 
promptly disregarded this order and, acting quickly, sent 
as mar^ Httle girls as they could to relatives of 

who' 'taly they were sure; and with the re- 


I maiTiing thirty-eight, the eight Sisters brarely aet forth, 
not back into Austria, as ordered, but towards Italy. 
They succeeded in reaching Avio, where their secret hope 
was realized — they were captured by the Italian Army. 
For some time they were cared for by the military authori- 
ties, but the vicissitudes of war had been many, and, 
out of thirty-eight children and eight devoted nuns who 
■were the victims of that welcome capture, only thirteen 
dhildren and three nuns remained in the aimimer of 
1918, when the American Red Cross took them under its 
wing and continued to care for them until they were 
able to return under the victorious Italian Army to their 
old home in MatereUo. 

The Red Cross kept at all times in olose touch with 
front dressing stations and war zone hospitals, and through 
its large warehouses established in Padua was able to 
supply field hospitals abundantly and promptly, espe- 
cially in times of activity. On one occasion during the 
October offensive the English hospitals near the Piave 
north of Treviso ran short of supplies and when they ap- 
plied to the American Red Cross, it was a particular 
satisfaction to be able to meet their needs. 

Once during the summer when malaria was at its height 

an urgent message was received at Padua from an Italian 

general, whose division was located on the lower Piave, 

that they were entirely out of quinine and could get none 

from the Italian authorities. This message was received 

at noon. There was no quinine at the time in Padua and 

a telegram was sent to Rome. And that very night a 

special messenger was sent with over one hundred thou- 

^^ sand pills, which were delivered the next morning to the 

^^L general, whose gratitude was only equalled by his sur- 

^^B prise and admiration for the promptness of the response. 




Venice, the fair, Venice the beloved, city of romanoe 
and mystery, seemed to acquire a new, if tra^Cj beauty 

^■^ i 



aod tm added fascination under the grim shadow of the 
war. After the Caporetto retreat which had brought 
Venice within fourteen miles of the Austrian guns and 
made it subject to constant air raids, there was a con- 
tinuous exodus of her citizens. But some forty thousand 
were left. All the industries were shut down; even the 
stores, save those that provided the barest necessities, were 
closed ; and there were no tourists, all the hotels, save one, 
having been requisitioned by the Government, mainly for 
hospital use. The condition of the forty thousand who 
were left, with no means of livelihood, was pitiable in the 
extreme. But their fortitude in their suffering, their 
never-failing confidence in victory, and the fine spirit 
shown by all in cooperating for the common good cast 
an added glory on this Queen of the Adriatic. 

Venice was the most difficult place in Italy to visit 
during the war. It was more difficult in fact to pass 
through her sentried gates than to make a totir of the 
front line trenches, as if, somehow, fate were trying to 
shield her in her suffering from prying eyes. The simple 
fact is that Venice was imder the Department of the 
Marine and guarded with that careful jealousy which the 
Navy always affects. It was no easy matter to obtain the 
necessary permission from the Ministry of Marine in 
Kome and, that received, when once at the gates of 
Venice, one must stand and wait while ofGcera telephoned 
to the Naval Base to see whether Home had properly 
advised it of the name and identity of the visitor. If by 
chance that formality had been overlooked, the gates of 
Venice remained closed. Once this barrier was passed, 
having real business in Venice, you probably found a motor 
launch awaiting you. If this was not there you were lucky 
to find a gondola, in charge not of a gay young boatman 
aa in former days, but of an old man with wrinkled face 
and shabby clothes, a gondolier emeritus, who had emerged 
from his retreat to take the place of his son who had been 
called to th" ' "8. All was quiet and still on the Grand 


Canal save for the chugging of motor boats speeding on 
their errands of war. You might indeed have gone the en- 
tire length of the Grand Canal and scarcely seen another 
gondola. The houses that line it seemed deserted, windows 
and doors all shut ; the market place was empty ; and there 
was no sign of life on the onee busy Rialto. An occasional 
rent in the aide of the canal or scar on the front of a 
building suggested the reason. Here was what onee was 
Saint Simeon the Great, now a pillar and a pile of brick 
with staging to support what was left. You arrived at last 
at the Piazza San Marco, There was the new Campanile, 
looking quite natural, though its sweet chimes had not 
been heard for many months. And there were the familiar 
pigeons. But the horses were gone from the old Cathedral. 
They too were refugees and bad been carried clear to Home 
for safety. The facade was completely hidden by sand- 
bags, giving the Cathedral the air of a fortress. Brick 
supports bad been built up under the arches of the Doges* 
Palace, and each comer was protected by a massive block 
of cement. 

Venice at night was even stranger than by day. When 
darkness closed in upon palace, lagoon, canal, and bridge, 
the city could be feit rather than seen. One has beard 
much of the darkness of London and Paris in these times 
of war raids, but those cities were well lighted in com- 
parison with Venice. There were, indeed, at long inter- 
vals a few ghostly green lights whereby tbe experts could 
steer their course. But people stumbled against each other 
in the narrow streets and many who thought they knew 
every stone in the city lost their way and fell into the 

Where were the children that used to be so much in evi- 
dence? Most of them were refugees who had been car- 
ried to places of safety. But many were left and these 
had been gathered into children's homes for tbeir better 
protection. There were some twenty-five of these homes, 
or asili, run by a Citizena' Committee and generously sup- 





ported by the American Red Cross. In fact it may be 
said without exaggeration that practically all of the chil- 
dren of soldiers left in Venice came under the care of 
the Red Cross. But Venice being subject to coastaat 
air raids day and night, it was necessary for each asUo to 
provide an underground refuge, a tomb-like retreat, shored 
with heavy timbers and protected with piles of sandbags. 
Whenever the siren blew its warning the children were 
gathered here by the kindly Sisters who, in order that 
terror might not be added to the sufferings of their little 
wards, sometimes made a sort of game of the experience, 
calling the children together when the warning came, say- 
ing: "Now we shall go to the place where we always 
fiing Viva il Be (Long Live the King)." Then the line 
would form two by two. There was no hurrying, for 
many of the children could hardly toddle, and hand in 
hand they went to the subterranean school and remained 
while airplanes whizzed above. In this dark refuge the 
children sat huddled together and aang. But often the 
enemy remained in the air a long time, and tired voices 
dropped away to silence, and small heads fell over upon 
shoulders of their baby comrades, sleep overcoming them 
before the four blasts of the siren announced that danger 
was over, when out they went singing once more " Viva il 
Re" that somehow in their childish treble seemed a song 
of victory won. 

The problem of supplying food to the poor left behind 
in this stricken city was met by the maintenance of seven 
public soup kitchens — four in Venice, one in Burano, 
one in Murano, and one in Chioggia. These were all 
under local management, but were generously assisted by 
the Red Cross with supplies suiEcient to provide in all 
about eight hundred thousand rations. A free dispensary 
for the families of soldiers, run by an Italian physician, 
was assisted by the Red Cross which gave thousands of gal- 
lons of fresh milk and babies' food. 

deal was done in Venice for the soldiers them- 











_ eve 

ijBlvea, both in and out of hospitala. Not only were quan- I 
ttities o£ packages sent from there to the front for Boldiera ' 
;in the trenches, but distribution was also made at the 
■Venice warehouse, to the soldiers on leave, of packages 

jntaining, generally, underwear, socks, and cigarettes. 

.bout twenty thousand soldiers were aided in this way. 
Red Cross assistance was early extended to Chioggia I 
Hot the relief of refugees leaving Venice by that door. | 
But Chioggia, a large fishing port of some thirty-five I 
thousand inhabitants, was in dire straits when the fish- ] 
ing industry was forced to suspend on account of tho ] 
ever present enemy submarines, and the American Eed I 
"IroSB remained, under a local delegate, to cooperate in j 
measures adopted for relief of the soldiers' families, j 
And similarly lied Cross aid was extended all along the i 
shores of the upper Adriatic, with headquarters at Rimini 
and Ancona. 

The extensive work in and about Venice was initiated 
through the efforts of the American Consul, Mr. B. Harvey 
Carroll, Jr., who had thrown himself with indefatig- 
able energy into the work of relief immediately after the 
Caporetto retreat and for many months acted as unofficial 
representative of the American Eed Cross. By the spring ] 
of 1918 the work had grown to such magnitude as to re- . 
quire undivided attention and he felt compelled to resign, 
and a special Red Cross delegate was sent to take his 
place, assuming charge on the first of June. Under the 
new delegate the work was intensified rather than ex- 
tended. Direct supervision of the existing activities waa 
made possible, closer personal relations were established, 
and the methods of assistance were coordinated with those 
in use throughout Italy. A visiting assistant nurse waa 
sent among the asili to investigate the health conditions 
and to assist not only by advice, but by offering her per- 
sonal services in caring for the health of the children and 
improving hygienic conditions. 

Many of the children were found to be in a deplorable 



condition. So the idea was conceived of estabiishing a 
home where the most sickly and under-nourished might 
be kept day and night and given special care and, when 
necessary, medical treatment. The success of the Italian 
counter-ofFenaive in the early days o£ July removing the 
enemy lines several miles farther away, siiggested the 
possibility of establishing such a place at the Lido, where 
the children might have the benefit of sim and sea 
baths. Now the Lido was militarized to the last inch of 
ground. There were several squadrons of air planes lo- 
cated on the island, which made it a favorite objective 
for Austrian air raids, and the hotels had either been re- 
quisitioned for military use or filled with the furniture 
taken from those that had been requisitioned. After 
many difficulties and the untying of many knots, civil as 
well as mOitary, the spacious ground floor of the Hotel 
des Bains was secured. The hotel kitchen having been 
burned down early in the war, a small kitchen was built 
in two days with the help of soldiers from the garrison 
at Venice. The plumbing was put in order by means 
of pipe taken from other buildings for there was no pipe 
to be bought in Venice. An interested colonel at the 
Lido sent fifty men to put the place in order; a little 
freight launch tugged one hundred and eighty beds and 
all the furniture of the children's hospital in Venice to 
the nearest landing place; Sisters appeared in their long 
black robes, and maids in their white caps and aprons. 
A Red Cross nurse arrived from Kome, bathing suits were 
provided, the cupboard well stocked with clothes and 
finally, the first week in August, the children arrived 
and the place was formally opened. 

The great ballroom on the ground floor, completely open 
on all sides to the broad terraces, was filled with rows of 
little blue and white beds, while the long vine covered 
terrace on the ocean side contained low tables and chairs 
where th" "■ ''dren ate their meals. There they spent 
happy jen the sea and the pine woods, bathing 



and playing on the famous Lido sands. The children had 
permission to use the beach for part of each day, under 
certain restrictions, for every foot waa patrolled and the 
beaches were covered with trenches and barbed wire en- 
tanglements. But these barriers only gave added zest 
to the games of the sunburned infanta who, in their bright 
colored aprons, all initialled C. R. A. (Croce Rossa Ameri- 
cana) and made by the soldiera' wives in Red Cross 
workrooms in Venice, laughed and shouted In their play 
and made of this part of "the front" the most cheerful 
spot in the neighborhood of Venice. Three hundred chil- 
dren enjoyed this care and cure before this colony waa 
closed on the first of October. Then indeed it waa not 
really closed, for, a short time after, in the unoccupied 
children's hospital at Venice, one hundred of the most 
needy were taken again under the charge of the Red Cross 
which continued to run the place as a children's home 
until the middle of February. 


There are but few of the many Americans who have 
had the privilege of visiting Florence who have not come 
under its spell. There is something in its equable climate, 
neither too warm nor too cold, too wet nor too dry, that 
invites one to remain; something in its blue Tuscan hills 
dotted with homelike villas that begets affection; some- 
thing in the atmosphere that clings to its historic monu- 
ments and Kenaissance palaces that breathes of peace and 
rest, — a mysterious influence that entices one to forget- 
fulness of the sterner realities of life. The Florentines 
themselves coma under this spell. They accepted the war 
because they had to, but without any enthusiasm. It 
took the hard blow of the Caporetto defeat to rouse them 
to a full sense of their responsibility and bring them 
wholeheartedly into the struggle. That blow fell upon 
Florence with special severity. Being the great railway 
terminal: from tiie north it was like the end of a hu^n 




funnel through which the refugees poured, and at 
time it was actually housing seventy thous&Dd refugees/ 
an enormous load for a city with a! normal population 
of about two hundred thousand. On the very first day 
that refugees began to arrive no less than nine thousand 
came and were gathered (it would be more accurate to 
say herded) into the cloisters and the church of Santa 
Maria Novella. Of course these refugees were distrib- 
uted southward as fast as arrangements could be made, 
but twenty thousand remained as a charge upon Florence. 
The people were thoroughly aroused. The menace of in- 
difference had been made plain. Governmental and local 
agencies rose promptly to the occasion; individuals gave 
generously of their time and means ; and tbe American 
Bed Cross through tbe Emergency Commission gave 

It was some time, however, before the people of the 
more ignorant class accepted the situation. Our Red 
Cross officers when first they appeared, wearing the Amer- 
ican uniform, were not infrequently attacked and sub- 
jected to abuse. America's participation was regarded as 
simply a prolonging of the war that had lasted too long 
already. How this feeling was transformed was shown by 
a little incident that occurred a few months later. In 
the early spring the American Red Cross delegate was 
out one night and, returning rather late, lost his way in 
the darkened streets and before he knew where he was 
found himself in a particularly turbulent quarter of the 
city, where suddenly two men armed with knives fell 
upon him. He succeeded in getting a grip on one of 
them and holding him in front of him, with his back 
against a wall, but he was hard beset. There was no 
chance in a fight and no hope in the darkness in flight, ao 
he decided to reason with them and began by explaining 
that ho was the representative of the American Red Cross. 
There was no need to go further. They at once desisted 
from ' 'k and asked him why he had not said 




80 at once. They then inaisted upon conducting him, one 
on either side, to within a few blocks of his hotel, say- 
ing that they did not dare to go farther for fear of 
arrest, both being in fact deserters and forced to live in 
hiding. But they explained that tbey were trying to find 
some way of changing their names and getting back into 
the service, and they besought his aid, saying that the 
Red Cro33 through its assistance to the people in Flor- 
ence had brought about this change of heart. 

The work of the American Red Cross bad in fact 
enormously expanded after those days early in November. 
Some three hundred towns in the Province of Tuscany had 
received in one form or another the assistance of the Red 
Cross. And the work in Florence itself had expanded 
until it reached over every part of the community. There 
were of course the usual Red Cross institutions — work- 
rooms, asili, soup kitchens, etc. There was also a certain 
form of relief work undertaken here that was not dupli- 
cated elsewhere. It began with an enormous distribu- 
tion of clothing. The great Cinquecento Hall of the 
Palazzo Vecchio was piled high with bundles of clothing, 
each carefully numbered so that it might reach the family 
for which it had been specially prepared. There were 
nearly seventy thousand garments given away at this 
time, reaching twelve thousand families of soldiers and 
refugees, whose needs had all been previously carefully 
investigated by the authorities. As a result of this dis- 
tribution and the enormous number of appeals that soon 
began to pour into Red Cross headquarters, a method was 
adopted whereby the American Red Cross could reach the 
people directly and continue its relief in a systematic 
manner. Taking into consideration local conditions and 
the special character of the people in this district, an in- 
dividual Relief Department was established with a staff 
of twenty-five investigators who followed up every appeal, 
visiting the families and investigating the conditions and 
making recommendations according to the need. T_ 


■were, in roimd numbera, nineteen thousand families in- 
Teatigated through this bureau, fourteen thousand five hun- 
dred of these receiving some form of assistance, mainly 
in the form of clothing and bedding, but also including 
other kinds of aid. The good effects of this widespread 
relief were shown in many ways, hut most of all in the 
changed attitude of the poorer class towards the war. 

Two small institutions established by the American Red 
Cross in the Florence district deserve special mention be- 
cause they BO perfectly illustrate that fine spirit of co- 
operation between the Red Cross and the communities 
benefited, which has ao universally characterized the work 
in Italy and has done much to eatabliah permanent ties of 
friendship between Italy and America, while at the same 
time rendering emergency assistance to the victims of 
the war and strengthening the power of resistance of the 
poorer classes. They were both planned as permanent 
monuments, and in this respect were something of a de- 
parture from the regular practice of the Red Cross which 
was to do emergency work only. The first one was in 
Leghorn and was a sort of supplementary school for one 
hundred children of soldiers between the ages of six and 
twelve. What had been a public square with many beauti- 
ful old pine trees was turned over to the Red Cross and 
■ here a small building was erected to which the artist's 

H touch had given the character of an ancient monument 

H set in among the pines, a single-storied building of seven- 

^B teenth century Florentine architecture, the large park in 

^M which it was erected being surrounded by a wall in keep- 

^M ing with the building. Four allegorical canvasses in the 

^M little reception room, the personal gift of an Italian friend, 

H gave a unique touch to the reception room. One, called 

H " Courage," represents the little fleet of Columbus on its 

^ft way to the New World ; another, called " Loyalty," gives 

H a representation of the cherry-tree episode; the third, 

^M called " Fraternity," represents American Red Cross 

^ft nurses and officers offering presents to Italian children j 



and the fourth, called " Liberty," represents American, 
Italian and other allied children dancing together in the 
midst of a peaceful rural landscape. After the Armistice 
this educatorio was turned over to the city of Leghorn with 
provision for its maintenance for six months, after which 
time it will he continued indefinitely by the city authori- 
ties hut always bearing the name of the " Croce Rossa 

The other waa a children's home, situated in Lucca. 
Now in Lucca antique traditions of art are deep rooted 
in the hearts of the people, so a little building was de- 
signed that would sink into its place unobtrusively. The 
authorities of Lucca were so pleased with the design that 
they at once gave the American Red Cross one of the 
moat beautiful spots in this ancient town, on the famous 
Boulevard that rims around the walls that surround the 
underlying city. Forty-two days after the ground was 
broken this building was brought to completion. The gen- 
eral satisfaction over the result was voiced by the Presi- 
dent of the Association of Lucchese Artists when he said : 
" I like the simple and serious little construction with 
its painted walls and ancient tiled roofs, and with the 
decoration you so sparingly added to it. It is quite in 
harmony with these historical surroundings. It looks as 
if it had always existed there," There are three little 
buildings in this group united by porticoes, the central 
building containing a little day dormitory and a bath- 
room with showers, etc., also a small dispensary, the 
building on the left arranged for an asilo for children 
from three to six, and that on the right as a day nursery 
for children from one to three. The city of Lucca will 
make this home into an " Enie Morale Auionoma," that 
is, a permanent institution, under the superintendence 
of the local authorities assisted by the congregation of 
charity. Bearing the legend of the American Red Cross, 
it will remain as a beautiful and fitting testimonial to the 
spirit of the work it carried on in Italy during the war 



(Tour through Italy in the wake of the Red Cross, continued) J 
— Bome — Naples — AvelUno — Bari — Eeggio Calabrii 
Sicily (Taormina and Palermo) — Sardinia 


Rome as the General Headquarters of the American 
Red Crosg in Italy was the scene of several unique 
and impressive functions that have already been described. 
Most friendly and cordial relations were established and 
maintained throughout with the Italian Government, 
which in every possible way cooperated with the American 
Red Cross and manifested its deep appreciation of the 
work it was accomplishing. It was in Rome especially 
that the Red Cross came into touch with the various 
Italian organizations for war relief of national scope 
through which it was privileged to offer various and mani- 
fold assistance. Besides the Italian Red Cross, these in- 
cluded: the Board for School Relief {Patronato 
Scolasiico), which acts under the Department of Educa- 
tion and has representatives in every community, and the 
Committee for Refugee Relief (Patronato dei Profugki) 
which had the general guardianship of refugees and had 
representatives in every town where they were sheltered. 
With these organizations the Red Cross has cooperated 
utilizing their extensive machinery in getting its supplies 
into the hands of the most needy. Mention should be 
made too, in this connection, of the Women's Alliance 
(AUeanza Femminile) which also extends all over Italy. 

It !" '^-''1 to pause a moment on reaching Rome to pay 

'le splendid way in which the Italians them- 





selves were grappling with the difficult problem of civilian 
war relief under conditions of unprecedented hardship, 
lest in taking this tour through Italy we seem to be unduly 
boasting of the part played by the American Red Cross. 
Now it is an Italian trait, no doubt deserving of all com- 
mendation, though apt to be slightly misleading, to ex- 
aggerate benefits received while saying little or nothing of 
what Italy itself is accompHahing. It is perhaps an ex- 
cess of courtesy on the one hand and of modesty on the 
other. In fact our Eed Cross delegates who saw behind 
the scenes the work of the Italians were often embarrassed 
by the warmth of appreciation with which their own ef- 
forts were received. 

Besides the national committees referred to there were, 
scattered throtighout Italy, innumerable local organiza- 
tions quietly accomplishing a vast amount of good work in 
the face of all but insuperable obstacles. The largest and 
the most important of these local organizations was the 
Roman Committee for Civilian War Relief {Comitato 
Romano per L'Organizzazione Civile durante la Ouerra). 
This was the official body appointed for relief work in the 
city of Rome and its immediate environs and had been 
formed before Italy's entrance into the war by certain 
prominent Italians whose foresight recognized the value of 
preparedness in work of this kind. The President of this 
Committee, Colonel Apolloni, also served as general Liai- 
son Officer for the American Red Cross, which organiza- 
tion he served with the utmost loyalty and devotion. The 
efficient work of this Roman Committee from the out- 
break of the war covered all manner of activities such as 
were undertaken by the American Red Cross, including 
what might be called a Home Service Department with its 
own legal bureau ; and it also provided courses for the in- 
struction of mutilated soldiers and ran a euocMsfuI em- 
ployment bureau. This work was accompliflhed on a very 
large scale and was so excellently done that the American 
Red Cross contributed one million two hundred thoug 

?m- J 
ery 1 

3an J 


enable it to extend(^^H 

lire, besides large gifta of supplies, to e 
itB work still further. 

The work which the American Red Cross independently 
undertook in the Eoman District, which waa made to in- 
clude the provinces of Lazio, Umbria, and Abruzzi, was 
separately organized and placed under a local delegate 
with headquarters in the city of Rome. Some of the 
more unique features of this work have already been de- 
scribed. An idea of its extent may be gathered from the 
fact that in all 71 activities were maintained.' These 
included 43 asili and day nurseries, 7 public kitchens, 11 
workshops and shoe shops. Besides the summer colony at 
Monte Luco, described above, a seaside camp was installed 
at Nettuno and continued for the three summer months. 
Here soldiers' children were sent in three groups, one hun- 
dred and fifty each month, living in tents on the beaches. 
Children predisposed to tuberculosis were selected and the 
results were most satisfactory. Antemic, thin, and under- 
fed children became robust and joyous, healthy, and ex- 
pansive. Two institutions for war orphans came under 
the care of the Red Cross for the duration of the war, and 
the buildings in which they were housed were recon- 
structed and equipped. 

At Anzio on the sea near Rome a large building was 
reconstructed and converted into a hospital, and to this 
was transferred the equipment of the Red Cross hospital 
at Genoa after that institution had been closed. There 
had been no public hospital at Anzio-Nettuno, with a 
population of some twelve thousand, poor and in great 
need. A special tax has been placed for its maintenance 
in perpetuity and this hospital will remain as one of the 
moat appreciated memorials of the work of the American 
Red Cross in Italy, 

There were besides in this district 80 Italian inetitutiona for 
iliiin relief which received some form of Red Crosij aasistance und 
municipsl org&nizatiant in small towas where there were no apecial 
Ked CroiB axtiTitie*, wbich were given food and clothing £or dia- 


A So]dierB' Ciub (Casa del Soldato) waa established in 
the old Borghese Paiace at Nettuno whieli was remodeled 
for this use. It consists of an enormous hall with a great 
open fire place, two readiug and writing rooms, a kitchen 
and buffet, and all the appurtenances of a club. It is pro- 
vided with musica] instruments and games, and serves as 
a place of comfort and recreation for eight hundred or 
more Italian soldiers daily who would otherwise in this 
desolate village have no place to go. There is a great 
military training base just outside Nettuno, and inasmuch 
as the Princess Borghese is to continue this club, it wiU 
not cease its usefulness after the departure of the Ameri- 
can Red Cross. 

It is an indication of the success of the work in the 
Roman district that a strong local committee has been 
formed which has undertaken to continue all the Red Cross 
activities except those which are distinctly temporary in 



The appearance of Kaples in war time waa not very 
different from that in time of peace; there was the same 
surface beauty, the same inward misery. Perhaps this 
was because in normal times poverty and wretchedness are 
so great that the increase of suffering due to war conditiouB 
was less in evidence. One night indeed the people were 
sharply reminded of the war, when the Huns sailed over 
the city, and, as if in pure malice, dropped a score of 
bombs, hitting a hospital with their usual accurate marks- 
manship, and taking their toll in innocent lives. 

With the exception of the large and successful station 
canteen for soldiers, and the effective emergency relief 
work during the influenza epidemic, the independent activ- 
ities of the American Red Cross in this district, thirteen in 
number, were mostly concerned with the care of refugees. 
This comprised not only emergency assistance during the 
early days, but also the continued care of some three hp 


dred refugees housed in the Hotel Victorim. These i» 
mained throughout a special charge of the Red CSnwBy 
which provided a workroom for the women and a day 
nursery and school for their children. The children were 
given the hest of care, and good schooling, and, when 
summer came, bi-weekly outings on the beach at BagnolL 
About seventy went .at a time. They were g^ven free 
trams to take them on the forty minute ride from Naples. 
The children would don their bathing suits under their 
outer garments before leaving the Hotel Victoria so that 
no time would be lost when the shore was reached, and 
the minute the train stopped they would rush off with a 
shout, and before you could walk from the tram to the 
beach, seventy red and white bathing suits would he gaily 
splashing about in the health-giving salt water. After- 
wards under the shelter of a tent flying the American and 
Italian flags they would rest and sleep until it was time 
for the homeward journey. In this way the little children 
from the north were safely carried through the Neapolitan 
summer. After the bathing season was over physical cul- 
ture classes were started in the American Red Cross school, 
which continued the good work of the summer. No 
refugees received better care in their enforced banish- 
ment from home than this little group which was fortunate 
enough to come under the protection of the American 
Red Cross. 

Assistance was also extended from the liTaples center 
to Ischia, Sorrento and to the Island of Capri. This little 
island with its population of seven thousand had given 
one thousand soldiers to the Italian Army. Dependent 
upon tourists for its subsistence, conditions here were 
very hard, and, cooperating with an American woman long 
resident in Capri, the American Red Cross gave generous 
assistance in supplying the soldiers' wives with work and 
caring for their children in two asili, one at Marina 
Grande and the other at Capri proper. The latter was 
in the beautiful old monastery of Santa Teresa, formerly 



a convent of Franciscan nuns, a noble old aeventeentli^ 

century building, with a large courtyard in the middle 
and broad high doorways and a grand atairway leading to 
the second story where in three cheerful rooms the children 
forgot their sorrows in song and play, and received ele- 
mentary instruction, which included lessons in deport- 
ment and cleanliness, from the quaint little mouse-like 
Sisters with their ]arge starched rulfs and full skirts. In 
connection with these asili, run by the same kindly nuna, 
were two small Red Cross soup kitchens. 

Eut the main part of the work of the American 
Ked Cross for civilian relief in the district of Naples 
was accomplished by giving assistance to some sixty 
local institutions. We must not leave Naples, however, 
without calling attention to the emergency dispensary 
eatabiished in March in the GalUria Viltorio and later 
continued in the same building with the other American 
Eed Cross activities. This dispensary was run by the 
Ked Cross, which also provided a district nurse, but the 
medical and surgical work was done by the officers of the 
United States Public Health Service, especially Dr. Carl 
Ramus, who, when the need was greatest, was on hand 
daily rendering untiring aid. After America entered the 
war and emigration ceased, their regular duties had been 
much restricted, and they volunteered for Eed Cross serv- 
ice, and before the first of November had cared for two 
thousand patients and made more than three thousand 
visits. " It is due largely to the activities of the Amerl- J 
can Eed Cross," writes Dr. Ramus, " that America : 
better understood and appreciated at Naples than ever I 
iore." And he adds, " We feel honored to have 
operated in that excellent work." 


A separate American Red Cross center was established 
at Avellino, some forty miles east of Naples as the crow 
flies, but with war time conditiona of communicatior 

sand d 


:a is^^^l 



shed ' 





Sabbath day's journey away. This district included all 
the rural towns and villages dotted over the beautiful footr 
hi 11 a of the Apennines in the provinces of Salerno, 
Avellino, Benevento and Campobasso. 

The conditions in the Avellino district were particularly 
bad. There was universal poverty, much intensified by 
the presence of large numbers of refugees. The Govern- 
ment had found it necessary to requisition the grain pro- 
duced in this district and it was hard for the people, in 
their general ignorance, with a vivid realization of their 
own difficulties in securing food, to appreciate the justice 
or the necessity of this emergency measure. There were 
a great many Germans interned here, many of them well 
provided with money which they spent freely, and these 
proved a demoralizing influence. They were forever fo- 
menting discontent, making capital out of the ignorance 
of the people, and of course their propaganda included 
the usual arraignment of America and her motives. The 
American Red Cross managed to reach practically all of 
the widely scattered towns in this extended district with 
some form of war relief, and had the satisfaction of see- 
ing the attitude of the people change from one of in- 
difference or dull hostility to one of unbounded 

The work of the Ked Cross here presents a marked con- 
trast to that in Naples and indicates the differences that re- 
sult from the individuality of the delegates with the 
regional method of organization. Worthy Italian institu- 
tions were indeed given backing, but the chief efforts were 
centered in independent Hed Cross enterprises, upwards of 
fifty in number. The activities themselves presented few 
new features, but they were wisely differentiated so that 
they formed a sort of interlocking system, one activity sup- 
porting another. Another characteristic of the work here 
was the promptness with which ideas, once clearly grasped, 
were put into execution. For example, one day the dele- 
gates were taking luncheon with the Prefect and on the 


table was a bottle of Telese water. Tbis led to a i 
cussion of tbe wonderful benefits of tbe sulphur batbs s 
Teleae and it occurred to our delegates that this wouid be 
an excellent thing for the aiiEemic and aickly children of 
soldiers. That same afternoon Telese was visited, an 
available farm house secured rent free ; and two weeks 
later it was opened completely furnished, everything ex- 
cept a few kitchen utensils having been provided by the 

' Eed Crosa shops in the Avellino district,^ the beds from 
the carpenter shop, mattresses from the mattress shop, 
linens, etc., from the workrooms. Twenty-four childrrai 
were taken at a time and remained for two weeks. Every 
I bug took them from the farm to the baths, and the 
owner of the Grand Hotel gave the children the use of 
the Hotel Park as a playground. The mothera were at 
first reluctant to let their children go from home, but after 
tbe first group returned, tbe evidence of benefit in im- 
proved health was convincing and there was great competi- 
tion thereafter for tbe places available. Once when the 

I camion arrived at the farm it was found to contain twenty- 
five children instead of the usual number of twenty-four. 
So the children were cheeked up by name and the stow- 

[ away proved to be a little boy of two, ail smiling and 
happy. Of course be was kept. About a week later a 
woman walked into the Red Crosa office at Avellino and 
timidly inquired how her boy was getting on at Telese. 
It appeared that so great had been her anxiety to have her 
child secure the benefit of tbe treatment that, taking ad- 
vantage of the crowd of happy mothers surrounding the 
camion to bid farewell to their youngsters, she had 
smuggled her baby in unbeknownst. 

On another occasion a refugee priest located 
Quadrelle came to Ked Cross headquarters with the i 
quest that a workroom be eatablisbed there. He made i 

I favorable impression and was immediately given some ma-1 
teriai to take back with him in order that he might showJ 
what bis proteges could do. In a couple of daya he 





back with the material all made up. A successful little 
workroom was soon going at Quadrelle. The large num- 
ber of workrooms established in this district had been 
made possible at small expense by conducting sales of the 
garments to the families of soldiers, whose needs had pre- 
viously been investigated, at what was a nominal price, but 
nearly sufficient to pay all costs save that of the material, 
which the Red Cross gave. The cost was also kept down 
and waste eliminated by having all of the material used 
throughout this district cut at the Avellino laboratory by 
a large electric cutting machine. Crates and boxes were 
turned to good use in the carpenter shop and the raw ma- 
terial for the tin shop consisted of empty condensed milk 
cans and gasoline cans. Skilled worlanen from amongst 
the refugees were put in charge of most of the activities. 
An experienced upholsterer from TJdine ran the mattress 
factory, which turned out four hundred mattresses a month 
stuffed with dried seaweed. A refugee baker, utilizing an 
old fifteenth century stone stove in the refugee home at 
Monteforte, made the bread for the Red Cross children at 
that place and also at Avellino. Having been a gardener 
in his former home he undertook to teach the children 
gardening, each child having its own individual garden. 
In this way vegetables were grown for the soup kitchena as 
well as for the families of the boys. 

A children's dispensary established at Avellino was a 
model in equipment and management. Here there were 
at least one hundred consultations daily and a number of 
operations. Incidentally all the children of refugees and 
soldiers were vaccinated. An American nurse in charge 
with her seven Italian assistant nurses averaged eight 
hundred home calls every month, accomplishing an im- 
mense amount of good and bringing the Red Cross most 
intimately into touch vrith the lives of the people. 

A unique feature of the work in this district was a 
chain of model houses. Here the children were taught the 
principles of housekeeping, cooking, washing and ironing. 


making beda, how to serve a meal properly, how to 
and to make their own clothes and to mend them. Each 
day a difFerent group of children was taken into the 
kitchen and taught to cook. There were in each house 
model rooms to show how things should be done, the simple 
furniture being made in the Red Cross carpenter shop. 
There was also a bath where, under the supervision of a 
nurse, they were taught to bathe, — for many of these chil- 
dren a novel experience- 
When the Ked Cross representatives first went to Ave] 
lino the streets were infested by ragamuffins, regular littlft' 
bandits who, with no restraining parental hand, fathers at 
the front and mothers busy, were bent on mischief. In 
the general opinion of the town these were just hopeleaa 
outcasts. The wife of tbe Red Cross delegate was of a 
different opinion. Near the Ked Cross office was a large 
unused plot of ground, uneven and stony and covered 
with refuse. Why not turn this unsightly spot into a 
playground for the Avellino street hoys ? The young 
" bandits " seized the idea and fell upon the field, working 
like a busy army of ants, stopping only long enough at noon 
for the bowl of soup given them at the Red Cross soup 
kitchen. The playground was soon in order, a modest one 
but the boys' own. Here early every morning they were 
drilled by a young soldier, home on convalescent leave. 
They were then organized into squads and put to work in 
the various Red Cross shops where they learned carpentry, 
tin-smithing and the art of making mattresses ; and there 
was also a toyshop, where they made toys used in the 
children's playrooms all over Italy, They were paid ten 
cents for half a day's work, and were only allowed to be- 
long to the organization if they attended school the other 
half of the day. They learned to work remarkably well 
and developed a splendid spirit and could always be 
counted upon by the delegates for any kind of work from 
unloading cars to running errands. They were v't 
proud of their brown uniforms made in tbe Red 

■ I 



workrooms and acquired quite a military bearing and 
saluted with great punctiliousness. They marched, these 
little brownies, in the Armistice parade, carrying the 
American and Italian flags, and the general reviewing 
the parade was so much impressed with their soldierly 
bearing that he wrote a letter complimenting the Red Cross 
on this work. 

The journey from Naples south through Basilicata, 
Puglie, and Calabria, on through the heel and toe of the 
"boot," and over to eastern Sicily, takes one through 
scenes of ever increasing poverty and wretchedness. It is 
impossible to convey in words an adequate impression of 
the misery and desolation which more than three years of 
war had produced in this poorest section of Italy, where 
even in times of peace the struggle for existence had been 
fierce and unequal. With all the able-bodied men between 
the ages of eighteen and forty-five called to the colors, the 
condition of the wives and children and the aged parents, 
deprived of their means of support, was wretched in the 
extreme. In view of the high cost of necessities, the 
meagre government allowance was hardly sufficient to 
stave off starvation. The people crowded more than ever 
into hovels, slept on bundles of corn husks, or were packed 
three and four in a bed; the children, and often the 
mothers, had only a few rags to cover their nakedness, 
and the^e was no money to buy the needed medicines f o^ 
the sick. 


The American Eed Cross did a great work in this sec- 
tion of Italy. The first part of this story, however, we 
should gladly pass over in silence. A center was early 
established for the province of Puglie in the city of Bari, 
an important seaport on the Adriatic, with sixty thousand 
inhabitants, but little known to American tourists. It 
must frankly be confessed that the Ked Cross work here 
was " months a failure. Of course something was 


- some milk was distributed, and a workroom i 
run for a time, — but it was all so little, and was done i 
such a spirit as not to make the slighteat impression on the 
life of the community. But a change of administration at 
Bari which took effect on the first of October remedied all 
this. With a small office force, but with whole-hearted 
backing from Rome, and with the devoted assistance of a 
local committee of twenty-five women of Bari, the new 
administration soon had in full swing all the typical Red 
Cross activities, and was reaching the most needy in every 
part of the city of Bari and in the outlying districts. 
Many popular demonstrations testified to the success of , 

this work and the gratitude of the people. If there had 
been a bad beginning, it is a satisfaction to know that there 

>was a brilliant, if late, recovery. ^^J 


It is a relief to pass on to Basilicata and Calabria wherai^^^^ 
the work of the American Red Cross, with a center at ' 

Reggio Calabria, was wisely directed from the first, and | 

made to meet the special conditions which there prevailed. 
The staple products of this part of Italy are chiefly 
oranges and lemons and olive oil, though a small amount 
of grain is produced on the Calabrian plateau. The staple 
diet of everyone consisted, prior to the war, almost ex- 
clusively of bread. This had become difScult to secure, 
and was only to bo had in small quantities. The Red 
Cross assistance naturally took the form of the establish- 
ment of a number of soup kitchens, some thirteen in all, 
and of an exceptionally large and widespread distribution 
of milk and white fiour. Milk had actually become so 
scarce that it sold as high as ten lire ($2.00) a litre, and 
white flour was not to be had. Several asUi were estab- 
lished, the most interesting being at Scilla, built by old 
men, the only masons left in the town, with the assistance 
of young girls. Now Scilla is the Scylla of Homer ' ' ' 
faced the whirlpool of Charybdis. The sirens 



cording to the legend lured the mariners to destructiaii on 
this rocky promontory are gone and Charybdis has dis- 
appeared^ but their places were taken by the more deadly 
submarine and the floating mine. A modem Ulysses pass- 
ing this way on his wanderings would see a flag with stars 
and stripes floating high above this menacing rock, and 
mighty instead of the sirens' song, catch the sound of chil- 
dren singing and shouting at their play, and " Viva 
America ! Viva la Croce Kossa Americana ! " would 
surely be part of the burden of their cry. 

But while railroads skirt the Ionian and Tyrrhenian 
coasts of Calabria, the interior is all but inaccessible, 
reached only by poor roads that in wet weather are often 
impassable, for bridges are scarce and rivers must gen- 
erally be forded. It was impossible personally to super- 
vise activities in the interior, so most of the independent 
work of the American Red Cross was done in the coast 
'I owns. But all the asili throughout this region (one hun- 
dred and ten caring for over ten thousand children) were 
supplied with white bread, and colossal amounts of con- 
densed milk were distributed ; clothes were also given, and 
in many cases the Eed Cross supplied funds to put strug- 
gling asili on their feet. Now poverty and ignorance sup- 
ply fertile soil for envy and jealousy, but a poor soil for 
cooperation and public spirit, and there were few phil- 
anthropic organizations in this district with which the 
American Eed Cross could cooperate. So the following 
method was generally adopted: supplies were sent to the 
asili direct and at the same time notice of the exact amount 
was sent to the Mayor of the town, to the Prefect of the 
Province, and also to the Eoyal Superintendent of Schools, 
so that its use was checked up from different angles. 

Calabria is no stranger to catastrophe. The people have 
not yet recovered from the effects of the earthquake in 
1907 when entire towns were destroyed. Euins are in 
evidence everywhere, and in numerous villages where not 
many houses had been left standing the inhabitants, 

HOME — NAPLE 8 148 i 

i sheltered in little frame huts, were trying to rebuild their i 
I commerce and industry, when the war came npon theml 
■with ita blighting influence. Nowhere waa Red Crosa aa-1 
sistance more needed or better deserved, for the Calabrianl 
soldiers at the front were fighting as bravely as any in.l 
our common cause. Calabria, like its neighbor Sicily, in I 
its long and varied history, has been tossed about from one I 
master to another from the days of the early Greeks to the * 
days of Austrian domination. Many foreign powers have 
planted their flags on Calabria's soil and every time this 
has been the signal for bloodshed and devastation, and the 
peasant has been the chief victim. At last a foreign flag 
has been set up in Calabria which the native has come to 
look upon with love and trust, for he knows that it stands, 

»not for renewed exploitation, but for material and moral ^^J 
aid, that it is the symbol of plenty and of peace. ^^^| 


All the soldiers on their wav to and from Sicilv stonued * 



All the soldiers on their way to and from Sicily stopped 
at Villa San Giovanni, on the Straits of Messina. A large 
kitchen was maintained here by the Red Cross where sol- 
diers and refugees in transit received the nourishing min- 
estra, which was served on tlie arrival of all trains. As 
many as twenty-six hundred have been fed here in a day 
before continuing on their journey to the south, or over to 
Messina, with which city there was ferry comrannieation, 
— a short run but made dangerous by the ever present sub- 
marine. Let us cross with them to Meaaina, In spite of 
its unkempt appearance this city contains men of wealth 
and public spirit who have organized for war relief and 
handled the situation so well that it has not been necessary 
for the Red Cross to attempt much here. ^ 

It did, however, establish a seaside camp at Taro, eiglq 
miles from the town, for Messina's soldiers' delicate chi* 
dren, especially those predisposed to tuberculosis, thereb^ 
enabling' a public-spirited local doctor, who was made c" 
rector of the institution, to realize a long cherished 


And here while the bodies enjoyed the cure of sun and 
the minds were not neglected, for in the early hours of 
the morning the children, seated on benches on the sand, 
had their daily lesson, which the maestro wrote on a four- 
legged blackboard that stood beside his elevated desk. 


The work of the American Red Cross in Eastern Sicily 
was directed from Taormina; the headquarters for the 
work in the western half of the island were at Palermdu 
Most of the independent activities were carried on in or 
near these centers. Taormina was chosen because it 
seemed to be the city of greatest need, the larger towns 
along the shore being better able to care for themselves. 
The many tourists who have visited this spot in times gone 
by probably remember it only as a place of surpassing 
beauty, where care and sorrow were forgotten. Just above 
the town, between two rugged peaks, are the ruins of the 
old Greek theatre. Sitting on the upper tier one can still 
enjoy the splendid view which the Greeks had before the 
Romans put up the ugly brick wall back of the stage and 
turned the orchestra into an arena for gladiatorial com- 
bats. On the right, high up, is the old castle, said to 
have been the ancient acropolis of Taormina, and a little 
farther on one can see the town of Mola perched on another 
mountain. On a shelf of rock below rests the town of 
Taormina. On the left, seven hundred feet lower, lies 
the sea, and straight ahead towers Etna, magnificent in its 
mantle of snow, sending up clouds of steam from the top, 
its broad shoulder gradually descending to the left until 
it touches the sea. In the far distance may be seen the 
city of Syracuse. Never did a theatre have a more superb 

But the Americans in Taormina in war time had no 
leisure to dwell on its beauty ; the human problems in the 
town itself were all absorbing. For them Taormina 
stands for sadness and sorrow. The soil of the surround- 

ing hills is scant and barren and, except for a few acres 
of vines and of almond, olive and orange trees, produces 
nothing. Many of the inhabitants still follow the life of 
fishermen, but their livelihood has been cut off during the 
war on account of the submarines, which make everything 
but near-shore fishing impossible. Long ago the people 
eked out a living by silk and lace manufacture. But 
about twenty years ago the tourists discovered that this 
was one of the most beautiful spots on earth, and they 
have been coming ever since in increasing numbers, as 
many as nine hundred at a time in the height of the season 
before the war. Industries had died out, and the people, 
of whom there are about four thousand, lived on tourists. 
They had been in a bad way ever since the war put an end 
to the stream of tourists, and when, after Caporetto, twelve 
hundred refugees were sent here, crowding the hotels that 
had been requisitioned by the Government, their condition 
was desperate. 

Legend has it that Sicily was once the habitat of giants, 
Cyclops and lotus eaters. The Sicilians, of small stature, 
could only suggest giants by contrast, and it is hard to 
envisage a fierce cyclops in this land of universal friend- 
liness, although when Etna thunders, imagination can pic- 
ture Polyphemus buried in the crater for his sins and ex- 
ploding in bis wrath over the loss of Galatea, But this is 
still the land of lotus eaters, and of no part is this truer 
than of Taormina. The few well-to-do citizens and 
foreigners settled here were mostly indifferent to the 
wretched condition of the people ; their consciences asleep, 
they lived for sensuousness and distraction, so that before 
the war this town had a reputation for luxury and indul- 
gence that rivalled that of ancient Sybaris. One or two 
English and American residents came to the assistance of 

I the Bed Cross, but for the most part it played a lone hand ^^J 
in Taormina. ^^^^M 

Most of the work of the American Bed Cross c ^^^^| 

in or grew out of the Home for Convalescent C ^^^^^ 


which was one of the earliest activities established and 
was A moih'l little institution. Over three hundred chil- 
dren v/vTv nourished and cared for in this home, remain- 
ing from throo to eight weeks, according to need. Not a 
fnw of thoni were passed on from here to the beautiful Bad 
C)r(»HH iM*nHiclo home at Mazzaro, just below Taormina, and 
all <li(» n»Ht, after their discharge, were provided for a time 
with broth and milk from the dispensary, which was, in 
a way, an adjunct to the convalescent home and greatly 
nxtrndcd its usefulness, dispensing the needed nourishment 
to the sickly who could not be provided for in the Bed 
Cross home. District nurses investigated all cases, and 
aid was given on their recommendation. These district 
nurses, with a corps of refugee assistants^ carried the 
ministrations of the Bed Cross into many a home in 

Nearly every one of the children in the convalescent 
home was the central figure in a little tragic tale, and the 
kindly directress, who loved and mothered them all, knew 
to the last detail the history of each. Here for example, to 
take an illustration, are two little sisters, inseparable night 
and day. They are orphans. Their mother died of 
Spanish fever in the early fall, and the Bed Cross took 
tlicm in. The father at that time was serving his country 
as a sailor. He came back to visit his children and was 
much pleased to find that they were so well taken care of. 
But not long after he had left his ship struck a mine and 
he was killed. One day the Bed Cross gave a " movie " 
show and all the children went. One of tibe films pictured 
Bed Cross work in Taormina and had been taken some 
time before. Suddenly on the screen these children saw 
their mother, moving about and looking very real, and they 
clapped their hands in glee exclaiming, " See, our Mamma 
is not dead ! " Joy once more came into their lives. The 
Bed Cross, though not able to produce the mother, did, 
through the efforts of the foster-mother, the directress, se- 



cure a home for these waifa when its work in Taormina- 
was brought to a close. 

A large workroom was established in Taormina, in the 
batlrooin of the Hotel San Domenico, — once a convent 
dating from the fourteeDth and seventeenth centuries, 
made over into a hotel and owned by an Austrian — which 
through a system of relays managed to give employment to 
more than six hundred refugees and soldiers' wives. A 
smaller workroom employing thirty refugees and sup- 
ported by the Red Cross and making garments for soldiers, 
was under the direction of " Mother Mary," a gentle and 
lovable British nun who, as Superior of the Franciscan 
Missionaries of Mary, has for many years devoted herself 
to work among the poor of this town. 

There was scarcely a home in Taormina that did not re- 
ceive some form of Red Cross assistance. The Italian 
Army doctor who took care of the Red Cross children, 
after the refugee doctor who bad at first bad charge of them 
had returned to his home in Udine, was moat enthusiastic 
over the work accomplished in Taormina. He said he 
could not find words to express his appreciation: It had 
been "miraculous," — it had saved the Uvea of the chil*. 
dren and kept the people from starving. He was sura] 
that without its assistance almost fifty per cent of the 
population in the town would have died. This doctor who 
was on sick leave with a mortal illness, although never free 
from pain, had for two years been devoting himself to the 
sick of Taormina, But he could not shake off a feeling of 
despondency, not for himself, but for the community, 
whose load he seemed to have taken upon his own 
shoulders, " There is so much," he said, " so much that 
should be done. And we can do so little. The schools 
should teach hygiene and sanitation. But how can people 
keep clean when all the water in the house is carried on 
the head from the fountain in the square, where the onlj, 
place they have to live in is frequently like this, — poir 



ing to a half-cellar, " a door, no window, closed tight at 
night and packed full? I have just been visiting a boy 
with tuberculosis who lives in a place like this. There are 
five of them, grandmother, mother, and three children, and 
all sleep in one bed, and the room is shared by the family 

The people in nearby towns were aided directly from 
the center at Taormina, but assistance was also extended 
far and near especially in the form of milk, which was 
sent to nearly every town in Eastern Sicily. Distribu- 
tions of clothing too were made in many places, often in- 
accessible and only to be reached on foot or on mule-back. 
Let us go with the Eed Cross on one of these journeys: 
A long carriage ride, followed by a two hour climb up a 
rough and rugged path brings one to an upland valley 
where the town is situated. The view of the sea as one 
passes over the crest of the hill is one of remarkable 
beauty. But the town itself is sordid and forsaken. It 
has been raining lately, and the streets are muddy and 
swarming with pigs. While the distribution is being 
made in the town hall to the most needy families, accord- 
ing to a list prepared by the Mayor, one young fellow 
walks up and says in English to one of the Eed Cross 

women in charge " Is this Miss ? " He turns out 

to be an old protege of hers from the east side of New YorL 
He is suffering from tuberculosis and has returned to 
Italy with his mother, to be near the father, who has just 
returned to his old home after forty months of service in 
the Italian Army^ The American Eed Cross workers are 
invited to dine with this Italian-American family, which 
they cannot do but they agree to call after the distribution 
is over. Accordingly they repair to the house, which is on 
a dirty, damp alley. But the room to which they are 
taken on the second floor is immaculately clean. It is 
scantily furnished with a few chairs and a table, but in the 
or -stands a large American victrola. Here they have 
^d and native cheese and wine and nuts, gener- 


oasly provided from the meagre store, while Caruso fl 
" Ai'da," followed by a medley of American ragtime, j 
the family sits proudly around, talking wistfully, between! 
tunea, of happy days on the east side of New York. 


In one respect at least the story of the work at Palermo 1 
is like the story of the American Ked Cross in nearly every ^ 
part of Italy, Beginning with emergency assistance in 
the care of refugees, it rapidly grew and extended until 
it taxed almost to the breaking point the strength of the 
small and inadequate force, which was all that Home was 
able to supply, each worker being compelled to do the 
work of two, busy all day with the inspection and super- 
vision of activities, and working far into the night writing 
reports, balancing books, and taking care of the corres- 
pondence. But it had its unique features determined by 
local conditions. Palermo is a large seaport town and was 
a prosperous one, as its large business blocks, its beauti- 
ful villas, its ambitious theatre (one of the best in Italy) 
and its modem park attest. But the harbor was prac- 
tically closed during the long years of the war by enemy 
submarines, and its shipping industries, the chief source 
of Palermo's prosperity, had been hard hit. Every ship- 
ping port has its army of the poor and its slums. It would 
be hard to find any worse than those in Palermo. But 
there was a great deal of public spirit on the part of the 
well-to-do, and private organizations ever since the out- 
break of the war had been doing a vast deal of work for 
the needy of the soldiers' families, and especially for the 
children through the establishment and operation of asjli; 
but with ever decreasing resources and ever increasing de- 
mands, they were unable to meet the situation. Since it 
was a fundamental principle governing the Italian Com- 
mission of the Red Cross to cooperate freely wi 
Italians in carrying out its purposes, obviously t 
thing to do was to get behind these local organi 


and assist them in their work. This the Bed Cross did 
in every way possible. It also completely took over 
two of the largest of the asili which they had established. 
It may fairly be said that the initiative for all of the 
work undertaken by the Red Cross during the early months 
in Palermo was due to these local organizations, and 
especially to the group of patriotic women who had vol- 
unteered under the banner of the Alleanza Femminile. 

The first wholly Red Cross activity undertaken in Pal- 
ermo was what came to be known as the " Massimo Food 
Distribution,'' from the fact that the distribution took 
place in the great Massimo Theatre. One of the chief 
difficulties that had been encountered in this district was 
that of reaching the sickly undernourished children of sol- 
diers whose mothers through ignorance were unwilling to 
consent to their care in institutions. For them this dis- 
tribution was undertaken; and it assumed somewhat the 
aspect of a diet kitchen, since food was allotted according 
to the dietary needs of the children, whose cases had been 
investigated by nurses and social workers, with the active 
and appreciative cooperation of the Alleanza Femminile. 
The work steadily grew until twelve hundred children 
were being provided for, with most satisfactory results. 

A day nursery was opened for delicate babies from 
eighteen months to five years of age, but the need of con- 
stant treatment was so apparent that this was transformed 
into a sort of convalescent home where seventy little 
patients were received and cared for day and night, sixty 
others coming in for the day. It was situated on the sea 
front in an attractiv,e building with a large sunny court, 
and the children were under the constant care of an Italian 
doctor who was a child specialist. 

The Red Cross also took over a pavilion in a hospital 
by the sea, not far from Palermo, with thirty-two beds, 
which were filled with children selected from the various 
groups under the care of the Red Cross. 

^eral it was only the very young children who 


I came under the special care of the American Eed Crosa, " 
[ but the conditions at Palermo were auch aa clearly to in- 
I dicate the desirability of eatabliahing a achool for older 
' boys. The fact is that mothers here have not much control 
of the boys, whose discipline is regarded as the function 
of the father; consequently -when the war came, many 
mothers found themselves helpless to manage the grow- 
ing youths, who would come home late at night and were 
falling under bad influences. Many appeals came in from 
distracted mothers, and from fathers on leave from the 
front, and the American Red Cross, yielding to the de- 
mand, established a school which kept three hundred of 
these hoys, between the ages of seven and fourteen, off 
the streets. The Due d'Orleans, claimant to the throne 
of France, and a niember of the House of Bourbon that 
ruled over the " Two Sicilies " until its overthrow by Gari- 
baldi and his famous " Thousand," still owns a beautiful 
estate in Palermo and he gave the Ked Cross permission 
to establish this school in his large unused stables. Now 
royal stables are generally more commodious than a 
plain man's villa, and these were admirably adapted to 
their new use. Permission was also given for the use of 
the adjacent garden as a playground for certain hours of 
the day, A mobilized priest of the Salesian Brotherhood 
was transferred from the military to have charge of these 
Bona of soldiers. His whole heart was wrapped up in their 
welfare, and his zeal and efficiency made the work a suc- 
cess from the start. On Saturdays and Sundays during J 
the bathing season the boys from the Villa d'Orleans were/ 
taken in camion loads for a seaside outing at MondelloJ 
using the American Red Cross building which on other] 
days served as an asilo for sixty-five younger cliildren. 

Some idea of the extent of the work accomplished ^ 
the Red Cross in this district may be had from the 
that between August, 1D18, and Fcbruaryj 1019, aid 
extended to ninety-two towns in Western Sicily, ' 
sixty-three institutions in the city of Palermo itsel 


eeived assistance in one form or another. At the height 
of its activity the number of people benefited by the Bed 
Cross from the Palermo center in a single week was 
twenty-nine thousand. 


The picturesque and sparsely inhabited island of Sar- 
dinia is little known. For some strange reason the tour- 
ists have never discovered it; consequently it is still an 
unspoiled land where the traveler is received as a guest 
instead of being regarded as legitimate prey. The scenery 
is beautiful and varied, sometimes presenting views of ex- 
ceptional grandeur, especially in the high lands on the 
eastern part of the island. Here one may travel for miles 
through a wild and rugged country, over excellent roads, 
seeing no sign of life save for an occasional shepherd with 
his herd of goats. Flowers of all sorts abound and the air 
is often full of fragrance from the herbs and shrubs. The 
women are fair, the men tall and fine looking and, except 
where the scourges of malaria and tuberculosis have left 
their mark, good health is the rule. All are poor, but 
their poverty is never allowed to stand in the way of 
their hospitality, for they are generous and hospitable al- 
most to excess. They are grave and dignified in their 
bearing, which is in marked contrast to the mercurial 
temperament of the Italians of the mainland. In the 
more inaccessible towns they still quite generally wear the 
picturesque native costume. Each town has its distinc- 
tive pattern and within that town all follow the same 
fashion. And the boys dress like the men, the girls like 
the women. The costumes of the women are very rich 
and brilliant and, in the case of the well-to-do, elaborately 
embroidered, and adorned with much gold jewelry, the 
costumes and the jewelry alike being generally family 

The Sards are a proud and independent people and, 
even in the darkest days after Caporetto, never lost their 





eonfldence in victory, but showed the aame indomitable 
spirit on " the inner front " that their boya were showing , 
on the front line. For there were famous brigades fromJ 
Sardinia. One in particular came to be known as the-fl 
" soldiers of steel." 

It has been a great pleasure to work with these people, 
and probably in no part of Italy has the work of the Red 
Cross been more completely satisfactory. In the general 
spring distribution * Red Cross representatives iu per- 
son visited practically every town on the island, and as 
each visit was the occasion of a patriotic demonstration 
in which the entire town participated, the message of 
America reached everywhere. There was the same com- 
prehensiveness in the work that followed. Separate asili 
were indeed eatabliahed and a few orphanages were sup- 
ported, but help was also extended, mainly clothes and 
white flour, to all the asili on the island, some sixty in 
number, caring for eight thousand children. Through the 
soldiers' canteens and rest houses at Terranova and 
ITacomer, all the Sard soldiers were reached as they came 
or went. Hospitals were aided with supplies, and special 
support was given to a hospital for the care of tubercular J 

Forty thousand children's outfits were distributed T 
throughout Sardinia, as a parting gift from the Red Cross, 
to the more needy soldiers' children. The following quota- 
tion from the narrative of a Red Cross officer who took 
part in this distribution will give some idea of the ex- 
periences of a worker in Sardinia : " We arrived in the 
evening at the town of Nuoro, larger and more prosperous 
than those we had passed during the day and were met, 
as usual, by the leading citizens, — particularly fine types. . 
On the mountains near this place the Red Cross had con- 1 
ducted one of its most successful summer colonies. A I 
number of the children from this colony came to see U8,f 
among them a funny little youngster who appeared to! 

I See pBg« 57. 


be about six years old, known as the ^ Captain.' He had 
been the leading spirit of the summer colony and had 
drilled the boys with great regularity and was very proud 
of the title that he had earned. 

" The following morning the distribution of garments 
took place, but this had to be temporarily interrupted, for 
the town had organized a religious procession in our honor. 
It was a most interesting sight The children from the 
Red Cross colony with large American flags insisted on 
heading the procession, marching before the priests and 
the celebrants and the life-sized image of the Virgin, wav- 
ing the Stars and Stripes. It made the picture rather in- 
congruous, but was a pretty sight. 

" From here we hurried on to the town of Oliena, ar^ 
riving a little after eleven. This town is well off the 
beaten track and the people have preserved their native 
costumes. The whole town had been expecting us and 
everyone was on the streets, and we were given a royal 
welcome. All were very much disturbed, however, to dis- 
cover that we had to leave at one o'clock, particularly the 
parish priest, who had planned a religious procession for 
the afternoon in our honor. When they found that we 
could not delay, the priest insisted that he would have the 
procession anyway, so he proceeded to advance the clock 
half an hour and had the bell rung for noonday to send 
the people home to their dinners, and then sent out the 
town crier (banda) to order the inhabitants to appear at 
the church at one o'clock, dressed in their best, for the 
procession which was to be given in honor of America and 
the American Red Cross. Meantime we repaired to a room 
where a luncheon was being prepared, and had much 
difficulty in hurrying the proceedings, for nobody seemed 
to have any appreciation of the value of time and the priest 
did not take seriously our determination to leave sharply 
at one. We all fell to and helped in the preparations, to 
the surprise and amusement of our hosts. Finally some 
bread and cheese was produced, and a little later some 

meat, and just as we were about to leave, the aoup ar- 
rived. It was a very friendly and good-natured picnic. 
"While we were here the town crier appeared ouce more, 
flinging his message to the people. He blew a horn and 
abea chanted an improvised poem, of which I caught the 
comparison of America to a 'stella' which was made to 
rfiyme with 'nostra sorella.' After his message had been 
Slivered to the people he came into the luncheon room 
and walking up to me began to chant another improvised 
poem. He was a queer wizened little old man, very 
ahabby, with a short sha^y beard, half drunk and half in- 
spired. He would chant in a monotone one line and then 
liesitate a moment and look into the distance, as if trying to 
icatch his rhyme, and follow it up by chanting another, and 
ao he continued singing the praises of America and her 
part in the war and of the Red Cross and its aid to the' 
town of Oliena. I could easily imagine that we were 
itack several thousand years listening to an old wandering 
minstrel. Our bard kept up his singing until stopped by 
ihe Mayor. Evidently he could have run on indefinitely. 
Sy this time the procession was ready and we al! aallied 
forth to see it. It waa indeed a very beautiful and 
impressive sight, the priests and the people as they 
inarched, accompanying the life-size image of their patron 
Baint, sang a sort of dirgo-like chant and seemed them- 
selves to be very much affected by the religious spirit ap- 
propriate to the performance, and indifferent to the special 


" At every one of the places visited we had a splendid 
reception. The whole Island of Sardinia ia full of en- 
thusiasm for America and the Bed Cross. There has 
been great success in each community in picking the right 
persons to entrust with the carrying out of the Red Cross 
plans. The people have a fine sense of honor and are 
uniformly courteous and friendly. I did not see a single 
beggar during the entire trip. The people are very poor 
and live in houses built of stone, with mud plaster, mostly 




one stoix occasionally two, and in very rare instances, 
three. The families crowd into a room, damp and cold, 
and generally without a window, though sometimes pro- 
vided with a small one that is always kept closed. In 
spite of this impossible housing the people looked surpris- 
ingly clean and healthy." 

There is scarcely a hamlet in Sardinia where America 
is not known and loved because of the efforts of the Ameri- 
can Red Cross. It was possible to do this widely extended 
work with a very modest force and at small expense, once 
the material was provided, because of the especially fine 
cooperation of the people who not only supplied, free of 
charge, railroad transportation, as was done throughout 
Italy, but also most of the warehouses, and the labor neces- 
sary for the handling of supplies, and at the same time 
organized committees within the several communities for 
the management of the various activities. 


Work with American Trooia in Italy — The Action at ths I 
Tagliamento ^ A Chaplain's Letter — Delivery of AUotmrait I 
Cheques — The Home Seryice Department 

of the 

preceding chapters have dealt wholly with the work 1 
American Red Cross with and for our Italian allies. 

The ■work with the Ameri 

I troops 

I small by 

^L mi 
^B on 


comparison. Let it not be supposed that this is be- 
cause the Italian Commission did not thoroughly real- 
ize that in the hearts of those who contributed the Red 
Cross funds the American soldier came first, and that 
as he was first in their affections so he was first in his 
claim upon Red Cross relief. The simple explanation is 
that the maximum number of American troops in Italy, 
all told, including twelve hundred ambulance men, was in 
round numbers only six thousand. These American 
forces from the time of their arrival to the day of their 
departure were followed by the American Red Cross, and 
everything possible was done for their comfort and relief, 
eveiything that could give tangible expression of the devo- 
tion of the American people to their soldiers in the field. 

MoreovePj although there were only a few Americans 
in service in Italy it was known that pressure had been 
brought to bear from various sources to induce the send- 
ing of large American reinforcements. There was always 
the expectation that at any time, without warning, this 
might be done, and the number of Americans in Italy be 
enormously increased. Accordingly the American ~ 
Cross was always prepared for this emergency. Arrange- 
ments had been made for the taking over and equipping 
on a moment's notice of hospitals that could be used 


Red [ 



the American troops; supplies were kept in readiness at 
strategic points for immediate delivery, including medical 
and surgical material necessary for the equipment of sev- 
eral large hospital units as well as advance field stations ; 
and plans were made for the rapid concentration of Amer- 
ican Red Cross forces in Italy upon that service. But the 
looked for American reinforcements were never sent, and, 
as the event proved, they were not needed. 

The Red Cross did, however, provide several small hos- 
pitals for Americans. One of fifty beds was established 
on the outskirts of Genoa, primarily for the use of the 
naval forces, at the request of Admiral Sims. Three 
weeks after the request had been received the hospital was 
completely equipped and in running order, installed in a 
modem villa, requisitioned by the Italian government for 
the purpose, situated in a fine park on the hillside over- 
looking the bay. It was at first maintained by the Red 
Cross, with a physician of the United States Navy in 
medical charge, but in the middle of September it was 
transferred outright to the navy. 

A small but perfectly equipped hospital was maintained 
in Milan to care for all American war workers stationed 
in that city. This hospital also served as the training and 
distributing center for all Red Cross nurses coming to 

The Permanent Commission had been but a short time 
in Rome when it realized the necessity of having a phy- 
sician to care for the health of its personnel. At first an 
Italian physician, who had previously practised in New 
York, was detailed for this service, but in the spring of 
1918 his place was taken by an American physician who 
had been practising his profession for some years in Flor- 
ence and had volimteered his services to the American Red 
Cross for the duration of the war.^ It soon became ap- 
parent that it was necessary to make special provision for 

1 During his year of service he saw nearly fifteen hundred patients, 
and reported over five thousand visits or consultations. 

V t 


atisf actorily ^^H 
oroDer food ^^^ 


serious eases which could not he satisfaotorilT' 
treated in the hotela and boarding bouses where proper food 
and nursing could not be obtained. At first au arrange- 
ment was made with the " Little Sisters of Mary " for the 
care of a limited number of cases in their " Nursing 
Home." With the ever increasing size of the Red Cross 
organization this proved inadequate and accordingly a 
small lied Cross hospital was established in Rome, in 
quarters that had formerly been used as a private sani- 
tarium, beautifully situated, overlooking the Eorghese 
Gardens. This hospital was placed at the disposal of all 
American workers in Italy stationed at Rome, including 
the personnel of the American Red Cross, the members of 
the United States Army, United States Navy, the Y. W. 
C. A,, the y. M, C. A,, the Knights of Columbus, and the 
American Embassy.^ 

The American Hospital at Padua is an illustration of' 
the preparedness of the American Red Cross to meet any 
emergency demands. When the Spanish fever was at itB 
height in the fall of 1918, and many of our soldiers were 
stricken, the existing army hospital facilities proved in- 
adequate, and the Red Cross was called upou. On a Sat- 
urday the request came. On the following Monday the 
hospital was open, with one ward in full swing. It was 
established in one of the modem buildings of Padua's fam- 
ous university, and was primarily for the use of the men 
of the American Aviation Corps, stationed nearby. This 
hospital was rapidly enlarged until it was able to care for 
one hundred patients, and was, to quote the Chief of 
Staff of the American Military Mission, " a God-sent gift 
to the scattered troops in this part of Italy, and so admir- 
ably conducted as to win praise both from the sick who 
patronized it and from the well who visited it." 

1 During its einht montha of operation two hundred patients were 
received, distributed as follows: American Red CroBS, SO; Y. M. 
C. A., 17 ; American Army, 53 ; American Navy, 30 ; American 
Embaaay, 9; U. S. Bureau of Information, 4; Knighti of Columbus, 
Z; Ei^liih Medical Service, 3; Scattering, 2. 



The American Red Cross also undertCK^ for the use of 
the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, the con- 
struction uf an autochir, or surgical army ambulance^ 
similar to tho:?e iu use in the Italian Army. This was a 
coiiiplotoly equipped sur^^cal hospital mounted on twenty 
(Minions, with a capacity of forty-eight beds. The sudden 
ending of the war found it still uncompleted, so it was 
never available for its intended use. When last heard 
from it was on its way to Kumania. 

The first representatives of America's fighting forces 
on Italy's soil were the Army and Navy Aviators who 
hud been sent for training to Italian camps. Over one 
hundred were in camp at Foggia when the Italian Com- 
mission arrived in Italy. The American Bed Cross gave 
a Christmas dinner to as many of these as were allowed 
to come to Rome, but when it sought to supply their needs 
at the camp there seemed little for it to do. They made 
modest requests for reading matter and better mail service. 
Of course books and magazines were immediately supplied, 
and an effort was made to accelerate the mail servica 
Later a club was started for them. Food supplies were 
given from time to time, and when the epidemic came an 
emergency hospital was established with American nurses 
in charge. The Americans in training at the hydro-avia- 
tion camps at Bolsena and Porto Corsini were similarly 
cared for. 

When the American Army ambulance unit from. Allen- 
town arrived in Italy, twelve hundred strong, it was given 
an impressive welcome by the Italians. Within an hour 
of its arrival the walls were covered with placards read- 
ing : " Citizens, soldiers from America are today on Italian 
soil. Acclaim our brothers from the land of Columbus ! *' 
Naturally the Red Cross was on hand when they arrived, 
helping them first to disembark and to assemble their cars, 
supplying every need from spark plugs up, and then look- 
ing out for the comfort and health of the boys. It fol- 
lowed them as they moved on towards the front, and pro- 



ntua during ^^M 
saying that ^^^ 




yided them with an emergency hospital at Mantua 
the influenza epidemic. And it goes without 
the officers in charge o£ American Base Hospital No. 331 
serving the American troops, and of the New Orleans Unit 
attached to Base Hospital No. 102 at Vicenza, had only 
to make known a want to have it immediately met. Large 
quantities of medical and surgical supplies, drugs, etc, 
rcRched our soldiers in this way. 

Detached groups passing through Italy from time to 
time, sailors on shore duty, engineers, military mail clerks, 
were aided in every possible way. The Red Cross extended 
comfort and relief to all, from the American Military 
Mission under General Treat, down to the scattered army 
mail clerks who made use of the Red Cross canteens and 
rest houses at Turin and Milan, 

In the last days of July the first American soldiers 
reached Italy, — the 332d Ohio Regiment. They were 
given a hearty reception at the Turin Station, which was 
gay with the flags of the allied nations. An Italian band 
played the Star Spangled Banner and a detachment 
of Italian troops presented arms on the arrival of each 
train. The first class waiting room had been attractively 
fitted up for the entertainment of the officers, who were re- 
ceived by a Committee of Italian women. And the entire 
personnel of the Red Cross of Turin served the soldiers 
at tables on the station platform with hot coffee, sand- 
wichea, chocolate, cigarettes, and matches. "When they de- 
trained at Villa Franca the whole Red Cross personnel 
from Vicenza, and as many Red C'rosa ambulance men 
as could be spared, were on hand to give them a welcome, 
serving coffee, lemonade, chocolate, and doughnuts. 
There wasn't a chance for a man to get homesick or hungry. 
They all had their army rations in plenty, but they took 
pleasure none the less in filing past the Red Cross stands, 
gayly decorated with flowers, and their cups and hands 
were well filled before they got past the American w 
in Red Cross uniforms who were there to serve 




There were Bersaglieri troops always on hand as a guard 
of honor, and a Bersaglieri band to play on the arrival of 
the trains. Italians of all ranks vied with the Bed Cross 
workers in the cordiality of the reception. An emergency 
hospital was ready to receive the few who needed medical 
attention, and here fourteen were cared for until they were 
able to rejoin their company. 

The historical importance of the occasion of the arrival 
of American troops to take their places at the Italian front 
was recognized by every one. General Diaz inmiediately 
announc^ their arrival in an order of the day to his 
army. It was a small force, but enough to make a fine 
showing as they passed in review before the King of 

The American Bed Cross ran a rest house for the sol- 
diers at Villa Franca. There were six rooms attractively 
furnished, and an old garden, and here our soldiers re- 
ceived refreshments and made themselves at home after 
their long, hot, and dusty tramps. As a group of these 
soldiers came in one day singing with much gusto " Hail 1 

Hail ! the gang's all here. What the " etc., an old 

native who stood admiringly by was heard to remark: 
" Here come the dear boys singing their national anthenu*' 

When the regiment was finally put under canvas at 
Valeggio the Red Cross followed them, setting up two de- 
mountable houses for their use where refreshments were 
served and entertainments given. Chocolate, cigarettes, 
hot coffee, and crackers were distributed free to the men 
on the march and in the trenches, and were sold to the men 
in the rest camps, but at a nominal price. This method 
was adopted at the request of the officers as it was sup- 
posed to make for a fairer distribution. Packages of 
crackers distributed in this way, ran into the tens of thou- 
sands, and chocolate literally was given out by the ton. 

When the American soldiers were sent to man the 
trenches at Varago the Red Cross went with them ; when 
they were withdrawn to quarters in Treviso it provided 


house ■where games aod reading matter 
n,..w ^.>j,j,.-^i. ^^J refreshments served. But our troops 
were hardly settled at Treviao when the hig October offen- 
sive began on the Italian front. A few days later the 
Americans were ordered to go forward. But the enemy 

■ was already in full retreat and it took forced marches day 
and night before they were overtaken near the Taglia- 
mento where the final skirmish occurred. The heavy 
army lorries had difficulty in crossing the light pontoon ^ 
bridges which had been hurriedly thrown across the rivers 
and were unable to keep up with our troops. So for five 
days the men lived on " iron rations " (hard tack and 
tinned beef). Fortunately the lighter Red Cross camion 
and ambulance which went forward with the troops laden 
with supplies had been able to make the crossings. And 
every day the little camion plied back and forth over the 
tangled, shell-torn roads, congested with the heavy traffic 
of war, bringing back from the Red Cross base a load of 
^L good things; and every day each man received a big cake 
^H of chocolate and a box of biscuits, and cigarettes and 
^f matches. Some days soup was added. At times the Red 
Cross cars were used to assist in hauling army supplies. 
The supplemental food and the cigarettes were, as the sol- 
diers called them, " life savers." " Smokes " at suoli 
times are worth their weight in gold and chocolate i 
tasted so good. The commanding officer of the American^ 
troops one day, when the men were well over the Piav^# 
^_ putting his hand on the shoulders of the Red Cross rep- ' 
^H resentative, said with feeling : " All the time we have been 
^H in Italy the Red Cross has been invaluable to us. All the 
^B time we have appreciated it. But during this advance it 
has been just simply a Godsend." After that the hard- 
ships, the cold, and the sleepless nights meant nothing to 
the Red Cross men who were fortunate enough to be en- 

» gaged in this service and the difficulties of connecting wiib J 
the base of supplies but added zest to their labors. " 

A final distribution was made just before the men went" 


into action near the Tagliameuto. This was the firat i 
only battle in which the Americans were engaged on 1 
Ilaliaa front, and our loasea were: one killed, and seven 
wounded. The wounded were reached on the field by the 
Red Cross men, one of whom had been with our soldiers 
ever since their arrival in Italy, helping to establish com- 
munication between the men and their families, straighten- 
ing out tangles legal and domestic. But he bad also made 
himself generally useful as a purveyor of news, a general 
information bureau, a father confessor, and an errand boy, 
and had won the confidence and affection of the men. As 
he leaned over to heip one of the wounded men that day 
the youth looked up with a smile of satisfaction.— One 
load at least had been lifted from his mind. — " Say, old 
scout," he said, " you'll be sure to have the Red Cross get 
word to my mother that — it isn't anything — you'll do 
that without fail, won't you ? You know — you know " — 
his voice broke just a bit, not on account of his own sufFer- 
ing, but at the thought of his mother's suspense —" you 
know, old scout, I don't want — her — to worry ! " 
" Don't you fret, my son," was the reply, " your message 
will get to your mother as fast as wire and cable will take 
it in war time," And the Red Cross saw that it did. 

Some two weeks later a Red Cross man happened across 
a battalion of Americans headed for Montenegro. Drop- 
ping for the time being the business in hand, he put him- 
self and his supplies at the service of our soldiers, took the 
sick to the hospital, and arranged with the Presidio at 
Mestre for baths for the whole thousand men, — baths 
with real towels, a service much appreciated, for the men 

I had been a month without a change of clothes and had been 
on long hikes daily, sleeping in pup-tents, with an uncer- 
tain supply of food, and they had just come in on camions 
from Udine, a hard sixteen-bour ride. When this bat- 
talion embarked from Venice the Red Cross went with it, 
taking an ambulance, which was to prove of much value 
of its lightness on the poor Montenegrin roadfl, and 




I adding to the store of food generous supplies from the" 

I Venice warehouse, including five barrels of lard, about & 

I ton of clear-helly bacon, and quantities of condensed milk, 

;se, soup, coffee, sugar, etc., and socka and pajamas. 

On two other occasions supplies were sent to these men to 

supplement the meagre Italian rations on which they were 


The American destroyers in Italian waters were given 
large quantities of food, and also soap, which was as much 
appreciated as the food, for in some cases the men had 
been for weeks without this necessary article, and bad had 
to resort to a lye solution for cleaniiness. 

At all times sweaters, socks and pajamas were given toi 
the men as needed. On Christmas every American sol- 
dier in Italy, and as many men of the Navy as could ba 
reached, received a present from the Red Cross. When 
Italy was made a zone of leave for our men in France, 
and a number of our M. P.'s were sent to Eome to look 
after them, the Ked Cross provided them with beds and 
bedding. Stranded soldiers whose pay-cbeques had been 
delayed were helped with money advances, but (by army 
orders) only on the recommendation of the commanding 
officer. When finally our men went into camp at Genoa, 
waiting for passage home, a Red Cross representative was 
stationed with them to administer in every way to their 

What the Bed Cross meant to our American troops in 
Italy may be read in the following letter from Chaplain 
Kelly of the 332d Ohio: 

"I have had it in mind to write you an expresaion of my 
appreciation regarding the activities of the American Eed Ctoaa 
as it has concerned our Regiment. In order that I may do so 
permit me to go back and give you a short history from the 
beginning of our entrance into Italy. 

" We had been in France long enough to enjoy and appreciatoj 
the well organized efforts of your people there, and I must ec 
feaa that it woa with a little misgiving and mingled feelin 
that we received our orders to come to Italy. We knew t' 




there were no American troops ahead of us, and oonld not help 
but wonder what, if anything, would be done for our comfort 
in the land that was to be our new home. But these misgiyings 
were soon to be destroyed. We came from France, over the 
Alps, into Italy by the usual means of soldier transportation 
over here namely, the box car route, and you can scarcely 
realize the joy that was to be ours that day. 

^ It does not take much of an imagination to guess a fellow's 
feelings as he goes into a new land, to behold new customs, to 
mingle with a new people, and to hear spoken a new tongue. 
Then, thinking of all these things, we pull into Turin. Bands 
of music, Italian guards of honour, cheering populace, build- 
ings and depot gaily decorated, all this, but best of all right in 
the very center of activities a huge sign AMEBIOAN RED 
CEOSS. Did the painter paint this sign in any unusual way, 
or was it just imagination, for it seemed to us that it was a halo 
of glory. And then those eats, served by those American Bed 
Cross men and women. What was true of Turin, was true of 
"M^jIftTi^ Brescia, Verona and all along the trip. Some of our 
train sections arrived at these various points by day and some 
by night, but it mattered not, the Bed Cross was perpetual 
motion, iJie coffee was always hot, and eats a plenty on hand. 

^^ Our destination was Villa Franca, and the Bed Cross hos- 
pitality reigned supreme. The section on which the writer was 
arrived at tibis point in the night, but no one was asleep on the 
job. We shall remember that night because, besides many other 
things, there were real doughnuts. Many things in war are 
camouflaged. They have to be. But there was no camouflage 
about these doughnuts. Not only were there doughnuts but 
plenty of them. Imagine a soldier traveling from the heart of 
France, on a 'soldiers' Pullman,' feeding on corned beef and 
hardtack, and the other usual traveling rations, and then being 
told to help himself to doughnuts. I don't know how many 
doughnuts can be made for a dollar but if those dollar investors 
back in the States could have secreted themselves around the 
Villa Franca depot and could have seen the grinning and happy 
faces of those soldier boys it would have been dividend enough 
for their money. 

" We f oimd that Villa Franca was to be our home for a week 
or two. It is a strange but beautiful little city. There is 
nothing wrong with their hospitality. We were billeted among 
them. They did their very best for us. But as I have stated 
before things were different. Strolling up the street one day 
shortly after our arrival, thinking about home, and wife, and 
loved ones, quietly humming to myself, * Where do we go from 



, boys,' which was always the question uppennoBt i 
' minds, I noticed ahead of mo floating in the gentle Italian 

Old Globv. My, what a sight! You doubtless have had the 
same thrill that came over me that sunuuer day. I quickened 
my pace, and as I drew near wondering what kind of a building 
. it could be I saw the sign American Red Cross, Walk In. That 
Lwas all the recommend and invitation that was necessary. In 
ml went. The talo is soon told You had rented a splendid 
Fbuilding and made it so homelike. There were American 
I magazines and papers, dotted around the roonia were writing 
tables with everything necessary for the boys to write their 
loved ones, over here in another corner a gramophone playing 
American music and songs, back in another room real ice cold 
lemonade, with real ice. I just don't know where you got that 
ice, neither do I know where you got a whole lot of the comforts 
that you have afforded us, but you seem to get them just the 
same. And as though that were not enough you had upstairs a 
room fully equipped for Officers for you seem to have realized 
that Officers get lonesome and homesick too. 

"After a short stay in Villa Franca we were moved out into 
B large camp near Vallegio. We had ceased to wonder 
whether or not the Ked Cross would be with us. We just seemed 
to know they would- We discovered that no sooner had the 
camp site been located than the Red Cross man was on the job. 
By the time our tents were nicely pitched, the first of your 
two huts that were finally erected was under construction. Very 
Boon, we found a well built, neat, and attractive home again., 
I could speak of various phases of good accomplished here. 
There was the invaluable help afforded by the Home Service 
Department, the reading and writing facilities provided, the 
home-like American workers. It is hard to individualize and 
specialize in such a many-sided proposition as yours. How well 
I remember in my hospital work during those hot summer days 
seeing your workers pass in and out among the wards with 
cold lemonade, flowers, egg nogg, papers and books. It seemed 
as though they just touched our lives everywhere. 

" Then came the time when we were moved into the trenches 
and got in readiness for the drive. Tou moved with us, and by 
the time we were fairly located you were on the job scattering 
sunshine. I hardly know how to speak of those days or what 
especial part to mention. How well we all remember when far 

i advanced north, the long tramping with heavy packs had been 
so hard, the bridges had been blovm up by the Austrians, our 
heavy trucks, being of the heavy Riker variety, could not cross 
the temporary pontoon bridges that had been laid down, rations 




were none too plenty or good, but you were there. Choc 
never seemed as good before, plenty of chocolate and 
charges. It just seemed to me that you represented America 
with her mother love and liberty as never before and yoa 
rested and refreshed. I am sure you did just what America 
wanted you to do. 

" I could apeak of hospital work. Tou remember when tired 
and exposed by heavy marching the dreadful scourge of influenza 
struck us. Hundreds of our men were sick and needed hospital 
care. Our hospitals were filled. Something had to be done. 
As though by magic you stepped in, the Padova Red Cross 
Hospital was placed at our disposal and from that tiine to this 
our men have been carefully and generously nursed back to 
health. I am sure we shall never forget Captain Oliver Kiel, 
MJ)., the Commanding Officer, and the fine staff of that hos- 
pital. Then again I remember when our field hospital was 
filled and we had many cases of serious sickness you sent us a 
complement of splendid nurses to help out in the emergency. 

" I remember a funeral scene of which I should like to speak. 
One of our men had died at your hospital in Padova. On the 
day of the funeral it rained, it literally poured rain. A com- 
pany of our soldiers led by our Regimental Band paraded for the 
funeral. But this is not what I remember just now. There 
were three American Red Cross nurses marching in the pro- 
cession carrying flowers to place on that soldier's grave. I said 
to them, ' Tou should not do this, the weather is too severe.' 
' But, Chaplain, we are taking the place of the mother, sister 
and sweetheart.' That's it. Colonel, and that's what you have 
been doing all these months. That is the key note of the whole 
story and of your success. Tou have been representing our 
loved ones back homo. 

" Christmas came, and because the war was over we would 
have liked to have been home. But that could not be. The 
Army issue in Italy does not make an accustomed Christmas 
dinner. But your delegate at Treviso and his splendid staff saw 
an opportunity to even things for us a little and he generously 
supplemented that Christmas of ours till we had a r^ular feed. 
Thanks again to the Red Cross. 

" I could go on and on, but you doubtless have all these reports 

at your disposal from your various departments and workers. 

But in spite of this I have heard so many expressions of delight, 

and have been the recipient of so many kindnesses that it seems 

■! woiild be guilty did I not express them if only in part. 

ling you of my deepest appreciation for all you have 



I done for us here in Italy as well as elsewhere, believe 
( a member for life of the American Eed Crosa." 

The ehief fnnctioD of the Home Service Department 
the Red Cross was to relieve the American soldier of . 
mental anxieties such as worry over unforeseen domestic 
or hn^'incss complications, over failure to hear from home, 
or over news from home that allotment cheques were not 
going through,^ — - in short, to dispel the fears so easily 
aroused in the mind of the soldier that his loved ones were 
Buffering because of his inability to look after their 
needs. The Red Cross sought to act as far as possible in 
the soldier's stead. Often the worries started from the 
other end of the line, from the homes. Families hecame 
anxious hecause they had lost track of the soldier memher, 
or had perhaps heard that he was sick or wounded hut 
were receiving no further information. In such case the 
Red Cross would locate the soldier and send back reporta 
of his condition. And through its representatives in the 
hospital it sought to keep the families informed about the 
sick and wounded without waiting for the request from 

Trom the time of the arrival of our troops in Italy tha] 
Eed Cross representatives were with them to perform these 
services. It was comparatively simple to do this work 
when one could call upon the Red Cross organization in 
America with its twenty-one thousand chapters and 
branches scattered all over the land, and its many times 
twenty-one thousand workers. This was, however, but a 
small part of the demand made upon the Home Service De- 
partment in Italy, where an altogether unique condition was 
created by the fact that there was a very large number of 
American soldiers of Italian parentage with our forces in 
Europe. Home Service with them generally 
reaching their families still residing in Italy, and the 
difficulties presented were often all but insuperable. 




The very first task thrown upon the Department was of 
such magnitude as to prove a severe strain on the small 
organization. In a single day the American Embassy in 
Borne received for distribution seventeen thousand iJlot- 
ment cheques. Nearly ninety per cent of the addresses 
were inaccurate^ and the military attache in despair ap- 
pealed to the Red Cross, which in a comparatively short 
time succeeded in correcting ten thousand of the addresses 
and starting the cheques on their way. Many, however, 
were in such bad shape that they had to be referred back 
to Washington. The work on allotment cases was carried 
on in close cooperation with the Italian Eoyal Conmiis- 
sioner of Emigration and with the United States Bureau 
of War Bisk Insurance, which in October, 1918, established 
a branch in Bome. 

The incredible amount of confusion in the names and 
addresses of beneficiaries in Italy was partly due to the 
ignorance of the soldier making the allotment, who would 
fail to supply full information, and partly to the ignor- 
ance of the army agents, or to their unfamiliarity with 
Italian, which led to mistakes in copying addresses that 
had been given correctly, or to the omission of essential 
details. Mistakes in spelling the names of places were 
generally fairly easy to remedy. For example, Lannicola 
Dellarto could be readily spotted as a miscopying of San 
Nicola Dell'Alto. But if a letter came addressed simply 

— to take one of many instances — to the town of Cas- 
tello, there was nothing to do but refer back to Washing- 
ton, there being over eighty towns of this name in Italy, 

— as many as nine in a single province. Names of bene- 
ficiaries caused even greater confusion. A soldier might, 
for example, following the Italian usage, have innocently 
written after his mother's name the word " Vedova," mean- 
ing " widow " ; and the cheque would come through ad- 
dressed to Mrs. Vedova. Again, Italians when they be- 
come American citizens generally translate their names, 
in some fashion or other, into English. These could gen- 



Herally be turned back into Italian without much difficulty. 

•^ Thus Mrs. Jamea Cappa could be identified as Mrs. Gia- 
como Capoccetti. It required a good deal of ingenuity, 
however, to get John Bigfeet back into Giovanni Marti- 
nelli, nicknamed Grandepiedi, from a recognized family 
characteristic. The most amusing case of this sort was J 
that of an American soldier who had been brought over I 
to this country by friends when he was a very small boy. 
In his old village home he had been called Piccolo Pietro 
(little Peter), his father being known as Largo Pietro. 
He never knew any other name. In the course of time he 
became an American citizen under the name of Peter 
Pick, and as such enlisted in the United States Army. 
And when every one was making allotments to relatives, 
thinking perhaps that this was a necessary part of enlist- 
ment, he remembered his old father and made his allot- 
ment to Largo Pietro, the only name he knew him by. 
But he had remembered the name of his native village, 
and the Red Cross succeeded in running to earth Largo J 
Pietro and making him the sharer in Uncle Sam's and his 1 
son's generosity. | 

The most unfortunate result from this confusion of | 
names came from the fact that thousands of cheques ar- 
rived made out in the name of the husband with only the 
prefix " Mrs." Now in many communities in Italy there 
seems to be a great dearth of surnames, or poverty of the 
imagination. It is not infrequent to find, even in a small 
village, as many as fifty men of the same name. It ia 
doubtless for this reason that the women, especially of the 
peasant class, retain their own family name. For, while 
there might be a good many Giuscppi Geradis in a 
tovra, it was not likely that there would be more than one 
" Maria Pampino wife of Giuseppi Geradi." Until the 
postal authorities became cognizant of the contents of the 
envciopes that began to arrive from the United States 
Treasury Department they were likely to give the cheques 
to any one of the same name who called for mail, and 



just as likely to cash the cheques for them. Conseqaenilj 
many were receiving aid who had no claim whatever, 
while many with the hest claims were going with- 
out. In one place two women of the same name had sonB 
in the United States Army and one was drawing the 
cheques for both. In one case the cousin was drawing the 
cheques and the mother of the soldier who was old and in 
need was grieving^ not so much because of her need of the 
money as because of her sorrow that her son had remem- 
bered the yoimg and fair cousin rather than herself. 
When she received a letter from her boy in which he stated 
that he hoped she was receiving the cheques regularly her 
joy in knowing that he had thought of her was so great 
that she forgot all about the past cheques that were due her 
and apparently bore no grudge against the cousin. 

Generally where other persons than the rightful bene- 
ficiaries had cashed the cheques the money had been spent. 
In these cases the Red Cross tried by persuasion and by 
threat to have the money refunded in small payments at a 
time, and was often successful. It never resorted to the 
processes of the law. If a case seemed to call for such 
treatment the matter was referred to the Royal Emigration 

As a result of all this confusion allotment cheques were 
delayed, or failed to arrive altogether, or, arriving, fell 
into the wrong hands. This situation caused one of the 
most persistent and burdensome tasks of the Department. 
Families would write that their soldier relative had told 
them that they would receive a certain monthly allowance 
and that it had not come. Soldiers would complain that 
the sums allotted from their pay with the added govern- 
ment allowance had never been received by their families, 
which were consequently in great distress. Similar mes- 
sages kept coming from the Red Cross Headquarters at 
Washington or at Paris. It was the task of the Italian 
Commission to trace the missing cheques and, pending 


their delivery, to take care of the families whenever i\u 

were found to be in destitute circumstances. 

Whenever it was possible the Red Cross delegati 
the different parts of Italy carried on the Home Servii 
work in their vicinity. But it was necessary to add 
corps of home visitors whose time was wholly given 
this work which extended to every corner of Italy. Oft( 
the places to be visited were many miles from the railroai 
not infrequently perched on the tops of high mountains 
and to be reached only on foot or on niuleback. Trains 
were few and conditions of travel as bad as could he. 
The little villages had no hotels, and sanitation was 
thing unknown. Food of a sort was generally obtai 
able; heating never. But one should not say never, ft 
one of our home visitors writes: 

" I have sweet visions of a dear old Italian mother 
bent by hard labor interrupting my reading of her sol- 
dier son's letters to say ' My lady, your hands and feet, 

I cold,' and bringing in her hands two little earthen 
jars of live coals with which to warm my hands and feet, 
tnd offering an uncooked egg in the spirit of gracious 
hospitality. She could neither read nor write but ahftj 
could feel, and she saw in this Red Cross visitor a wi 
to reach her boy and was full of gratitude." 

" One old widowed mother of seventy years [I continue' 
to quote from this visitor's report], living all alone in 
1 had not seen her only child in over six years. 
When I told her my errand she swelled with pride and 
replied : ' Yes, my lady, my Amedeo is fighting for the 
great United States somewhere — I do not know where. 
It is eight months since I have heard from him, and only 
twice have I received my allotment cheques,— the last 
one five months ago. But, lady, no matter ("'fa niente"), 
I am happy if I hear from my hoy and have work. I 

twork in the fields for 1.25 lira (about twenty-five cents) 
a day, when I can get work at all. But now in the 


he. , 



lue ' 



mountains — the fingers freeze. But read me, my edu- 
cated lady, what my Amedeo says to me in tibis letter, 
once more. Read to me what this card with the little 
Red Cross upon it says about my son. — Write for me 
to his captain and beg him to let my boy come home once 
more to see me before I die, before he returns to that 
far-oflf United States. Also, write my Amedeo and tell 
him that in a few days I shall go up on the mountains 
to get some wood. Look, lady, at the "polenta*' up 
there ' (and she pointed to the few ears of com hanging 
from the ceiling) ; — * look there ' (and she pointed with 
her withered hand to the fireplace) — ^ there I will cook 
him a nice dinner, and there in that comer I will build 
me a bed and he can have this nice one. Oh, write, 
my lady, I do want to hear from my Amedeo.* 

" Can you imagine how thankful this poor old soul 
was when I told her not to worry; that the Red Cross 
would write her son and be her friend. I wrote this sol- 
dier and told him how proud he should be of such a brave, 
courageous old mother, how she smiled as the tears stood 
in her eyes, and how she loved him. Poor mother ! Only 
a few days ago we had to write her telling her that her 
Amedeo had fallen in battle. And so again a small 
cheque was sent to this suffering old mother who gave 
her all." 

Endless were the tales the Home Service visitors brought 
back from their arduous journeys, most of them sad, a few 
more joyous, but all of them telling the same story, — 
that the heart of the mother of Amedeo may beat in a 
different language but beats with the same pride and 
love, the same worries and deep sorrows, and the same 
stout courage as the hearts of the loving mothers of Amer- 

The work of the Home Service Department has been 
the hardest of all of the Red Cross activities to bring to 
an end in Italy. It seemed as if the termination of 
hop**'** had but increased the demand for this kind 




of service. More than a year after the signing of the 
armistice the Eed Croaa was still handling three or four 
thousand cases a month. 

On January 1, 1919, the Bureau of War Risk In- 
surance withheld all requests for allowances until a claim 
of dependency had been established. In order to estaV 
lish this claim it was necessary to fill out a hlank printed 
in English sent from the Department in Washington to 
the claimants in Italy, Since most of these claimants 
could scarcely read their own tongue it is not surprising 
that hardly any of these so-called " mail investigation 
forms " had been filled in and returned to Washington. 
As a result, even those who had been regularly receiving 
their allotments and allowances were suddenly cut off, 
and were much perplexed to know the reason why, but 
felt sure that they were in some way being defrauded. 
Again many soldiers who had gone through the war with 
a serene mind, feeling that their dependents in Italy were 
being well cared for in accordance with the provisions 
they had made for allotment, found, upon reaching home 
after demobilization, letters awaiting tbem telling of great 
distress, for the cheques had not come through. In gen- 
eral the Italian-Americans who were serving with our 
forces in Prance asked to be demohilized there in order 
that they might visit their native village in Italy to see 
their wives and children or their aged parents, and in 
many hundreds of cases the request was granted. They 
came hack with a feeling of satisfaction in having been 
able to provide so generously for their dependents, proud 
of the country of their adoption that had made this possi- 
ble, and rather anxious to parade in the uniform of their 
new country. Most of them, however, were doomed to 
the disppointmeut and disillusionment so feelingly voiced 
in the following letter from one of them: 

" Cariseima Red Cross 

" I have come all way from France for see ma wife and oh^ 
and veesit ma home and I have thought evrabody would be g* 


for tee me and I wonM tell much boot the war and ma nevr 
country who I am giving two years for defend. My country as 
was promise send my wife and child $15 from my monthly paid- 
ment and put to it nother $15. But you dint do neither. 
Thirty dollars American money make so many lires as we dont 
much see in Silva Marina and I am thinking as I would find my 
family all fine. Instead Cara Signora what you theenk I find — 
my wife seek in bed and ma g^irl seek too and my friends not 
sooch good friends because they are thinking I am gone off and 
leave ma wife and child for them to care for ma 

^ And now ma dear friend American Bed Cross wont you 
please give me an information since the great American Gor- 
emment is not ma friend and I know how evrabody is to buay 
for bother weetha me, wont you please carissima Signora help 
me get this money. I am earn this money honestly when I am 
fight in France. 

''If I dont get this money I dont wanta wear the uniform. 
Before now I am having much pride bout wearing uniform and 
I am theenking how ma wife would say as it was beautiful But 
now our friends they laugh at me. 

'' I am hoping I get letter from you and money too. 

" Giovanni Antonelll** 

To do the large amount of home visiting that was 
called for it was necessary to find men and women of tact 
and good judgment and much common sense, — workers 
who might know just when and how much and what kind 
of assistance should be given to these Italian families 
of United States soldiers in order not to encourage the 
spirit of dependency, and at the same time to keep them 
from falling below the level of decent and respectable liv- 
ing as measured by the standards of their several com- 
munities, and to know how to interpret this relief in terms 
of dollars and cents — or to be more exact, lire — not 
an easy matter in the small Sicilian hill towns where the 
people, like our own American Indians, are in the habit 
of exchanging one commodity of which they have a sur- 
plus for another of which they have need, and hardly know 
what to do with legal tender. These workers had to have 
a fluent knowledge of Italian in order to thread their 
way through the maze of the many dialects, for there is 


a saying in Italj that there are two hundred and nin^ 
varieties of cheeae made and two hundred and ten varie- 
ties of Italian spoken. And they must be humble-niinded 
enough to endure the hospitality of a spare room fre- 
quently shared with the favorite pig or the family goat 
Such agents were found, and they have carried' ou their 
work under the burning Sicilian sun, in the hleak and 
forbidding mountains of the Ahruzzi, and through the 
desolated regions of the Piave. They have stood all night 
in the corridors of over-crowded trains and then worked 
all day in the village piazza, or in a small room where 
people, odoriferous and noisy, have pressed about eager 
for an interview with the American Ked Cross. 

In the north where the eases were more scattered the 
Red Cross agent personally visited each family. In the 
Veneto and along the Piave, in the invaded districts, 
were many families who had given sous to the American 
army who had formerly been thrifty and used to some 
degree of comfort, and had lost everything through the 
hardships of war, including their cattle, and not infre- 
quently their homes. To these families, special victims 
of the war's hardships, relief was given more generously 
than elsewhere. But in a nimiher of instances where re- 
lief was offered it was declined. The spirit of these 
people was well expressed by the Mayor of one town who 
had thanked the Red Cross for its services in assisting 
the families of American soldiers in filling out the blanks 
which proved their claims, but when asked if the Ked 
Cross might be of monetary assistance, replied with quiet 
pride : " We have suffered much in this war, but we 
have learned to endure. The Italian government will 
soon make recompense for our losses; your government 
will soon send what is due, and that is enough." 

This was not the spirit shown in Sicily and in south- 
ern Italy. But no one who has any knowledge of the 
extreme hardships which the people endured in that pov- 
erty-stricken portion of Italy during the war will 



fault with their eagerness to take what they could get 
from the bounty of their rich ally. Most of the cases 
dealt with were in this part of Italy, and no attempt was 
made to visit each one personally. The Mayor of a town 
would be notified that on a certain day the Red Cross 
representative would arrive, and he would be asked to 
notify all those who had claims of any kind to interview 
the agent. And at the same time the Red Cross sent 
notices direct to all persons in the neighborhood of whom 
it had record. Sometimes the notice was given by 
placards posted throughout the district, and often the 
town crier went forth to annoimce the arrival of the 
agent, who in one instance was referred to as " the United 
States of America that has arrived." Peasants rode and 
walked over hills, down dusty roads, to present their 
claims, bringing with them, by instruction, any documents 
they might have to establish their case, which consisted 
of everything from letters written by the soldier on Y. 
M. C. A. paper to the various forms and instructions re- 
ceived from the United States War Department or the Bu- 
reau of War Eisk Insurance, the latter printed in English 
and cherished as something almost sacred, and usually 
carried inside the corsets, which the Italian peasants wear 
outside their dresses. Generally the agent was able to 
secure the assistance of some official of the district or 
some member of the Italian Red Cross in filling in the 
various forms; and printed instructions, in Italian, were 
left with him that he might take care of future cases 
in his district. 

It was the plan of the Red Cross to give relief only 
in those cases of evident distress caused by the failure of 
the United States government to get its allotment cheques 
through, which would have taken the place of the money 
that formerly the soldier had been in the habit of sending 
to his family when he was a workman in America. This 
relio-f WQQ. however, reduced to a minimum, and the chief 
' e Red Cross agents were expended in assist- 



^V mg the families to establtsli their claims to allowance, 

^ compensation, or insurance. In some cases where the 

faniDiea lived in altogether inaccessible communities the 

Red Cross has depended upon the carabinieri, Italy's in- 

I comparable military police, who cover every part of the 
country on foot. More than five thousand claim blanks 
were filled in directly by the Ked Cross agents, and ten 
times that number indirectly through instructions they 
gave to others. 
About a year after the armistice the Red Croaa entered 
upon its final phase of work. There were thirty thousand 
men in the United States,— some were American citizens 
and some had taken out their first papers, — who answered 
the call to arms from across the water when Italy first 
entered the war. The Italian government agreed to pay 
the transportation of these men to Italy and to return 
them to the United States within two years after the war. 
There were, in November, 1919, nearly four thousand of 
these men, many of them with their families, gathered in 
Naples waiting to embark for America, and twenty thou- 
sand more were expected during the following six months. 
The American Consulate at Naples was so over-burdened 
'by the extra work of viseing the passports for these 
people that they were of necessity being detained from 
one to five weeks at the Casa degli Emigranti. The Con- 
sulate had no funds with which to meet this emergency, 
and before it could get them the need would probably be 
' over. Therefore it has seemed but right to regard it as 
a part of the task of the Red Cross to relieve this con- 
dition, which is in truth caused by a war emergency. 
' Accordingly the Red Cross has been paying the salaries 
. of extra clerks to expedite the work of visaing the pass- 
ports of these reservists. And it has in addition attempted 
to relieve the hardships of their delay in Naples by look- 
ing after their welfare — providing extra food, beds, 
! etc, at the Casa degli Emigranti. It may not be strictly 
[ Home Service work, but it ia a legitimate extenflion 



Red Cross activity which can only bear good fruit 
The men and women who have for the past year been 
engaged in Home Service work have performed their 
tasks with devotion and enthusiasm. Had you chanced 
to meet one of them returning to the city after a ten 
days' campaign in the field, tired, with digestion upset, 
and sadly in need of a bath, and asked him to tell you 
of his experience, he would lightly pass over the discom- 
forts and dwell at length upon the unfailing courtesy 
of the people, from the officials down to the humblest 
widow or little child. He did not feel in the least like 
a martyr. He had had to ward off too much adoration 
and gratitude all along the line. But he would gladly tell 
you what the experience of being in touch with this gra- 
cious people has meant, what an opportunity he has had 
to know Italy as few Americans do, what he has learned 
about the sources of emigration, and most of all what 
pointers he could give the various organizations at home 
that are interesting themselves in the problems of Amer- 
icanization. During these latter months the relations 
between Italy and America have been at times rather 
tense. The Fiume question has been uppermost in the 
minds of the Italians, and has not been far in the back- 
ground of the consciousness of any of our representa- 
tives. And yet not one of them has met with the slight- 
est discourtesy, nor has the delay on the part of the United 
States government in redeeming its pledges met with 
any criticism other than that of natural impatience over 
the necessity of waiting so long. On the other hand the 
realization that America — and the people usually took 
the Red Cross agents to be representatives of the Govern- 
ment — was sufficiently interested in their individual 
cases to know or care whether they received their subsidy, 
was almost past comprehension. Truly they had sent 
their own men forth to a land not only of great riches but 
also of great ideals. And they understood, perhaps for 
the first time, how the sons of Italy could go forth just 


as joyously to fight for their new country as their brothers 
went forth to fight for Italy. Who can doubt that these 
sons of Italy, now that the battle is over, and they are 
taking up the burden of their lives once more in the land 
of their adoption, will do so with a greater courage, a 
stouter faith, and deeper loyalty because of their knowl- 
edge that the United States was mindful of their services 
even to the extent of personally looking after the needs 
of those whom they had left behind in Italy. ^ 

1 1 have drawn freely in the above narrative of Home Service work 
upon the excellent report which Miss Mildred Ghadsey, director of 
this branch of the Red Cross activity in Italy after May, 1919, pre- 
pared for my use. 


The Battle of Vittorio Veneto — Ambulances and Boiling 
Canteens — Feeding the Eetumed Prisoners at Trieste — 
Relief in the Invaded Territory — Aiding Bepatriates in the 

In the summer and early fall of 1918 the quiet on 
the Italian front was broken only by occasioiud skir- 
misheS; or by isolated efforts on either side to wrest some 
minor strategic position from the opposed forces. Ever 
since the battle of the Piave in June had shown that in 
an open fight the Austrians were no match for the Italians, 
the Italian soldiers had acquired renewed confidence in 
themselves. They had taken once more to singing as 
they marched, and, instead of looking ahead with appre- 
hension to the time when Austria should launch her blow, 
began to grow restive waiting for Italy to assume the of- 
fensive. Nor was the impatience confined to the men at 
the front. There were many who were asking: "Why 
doesn't the army move ? " 

It should be borne in mind that the armies of Italy, with 
its population of less than forty million, were standing 
practically alone against the armies of Austria, with its 
population of fifty-seven million. It is true that there were 
on the Italian front three divisions of French, two of 
English, one Czecho-Slovak division, and one regiment of 
Americans; but these were more than out-numbered by 
the Italians fighting on the Serbian and French fronts. 
In all, the enemy had a preponderance of some twenty 
divisions. Moreover, on the mountain front in the nordi 
the Italians might still be said to be " like men hanging 
by their fingers to a window silL'^ And the Austrians 




were higher up, entrenched in apparently impregnable' 
positions. An advance to the eaat over the Piave could 
not he undertaken with safety if there were any uncertainty 
of the situation in the north. Meanwhile economic condi- 
tions and food conditions had hecome so bad that a pre- 
mature offensive ending in defeat, or even in a draw, 
would have made it exceedingly difficult for Italy to hold 
out through the coming winter. Patiently and thoroughly 
General Diaz had been making his preparations, and on 
the 24th of October, precisely one year after the disaster 
of Caporetto, the attack was launched simultaneously on 
both fronts. 

It is a mystery to a layman how an army can remaittj 
intact while the country liat supports it is politically dis- 
integrating. Austria ever since the defeat in June had 
been going to pieces. But her army was still a powerful 
and well organized fighting machine, and gave a good ac- 
count of itself, taking heavy toll of the Italians, partio 
ulariy on the mountain front, where heights were often 
captured, lost, and recaptured more than once. On the 
plain the difficulties of the attack were increased by the 
fact that rain had come and the Piave was in flood, rushing 
madly over its gravel bed at the rate of eight feet a second. 
Throwing pontoon bridges across this river would have 
been no easy matter had there been no enemy fire to face. 
Perhaps nowhere did the spirit of the Italian army show 
to better advantage than here where the shells were falling 
fast, and promptly, as one group of workers was wiped out, 
another would move forward to take its place with perfect 
order and discipline. At six different points the bridges 
were laid, and over them the armies crowded after the 
way had been prepared by a heavy barrage, all the Allies 
finely cooperating. Though the enemy resistance for the 
first few days had been stubborn, when the line once broke 
the army collapsed and the retreat fast became a rout. 
The allied armies followed close on the heels of the re- 
treating enemy. There was some rear-guard fighting, a 




a brief stand was made at Vittorio, and on the lower 
TagliameDta But these efforts were ineffectual. The 
Italians pushed on through Vittorio, up the valley of 
the Heschio, took the lower Alpa of Belluno, at about the 
same time that the forces further west were entering Feltre, 
thus effectively cutting off the line of supplies from the 
troops still holding their own on the Grappa massif, which 
were forced to surrender. 

The enemy had been driven back more rapidly than the 
Italians had been forced hack over the same ground the 
year before. It was a complete military victory. And 
the army of Austria was a Uiing of the past. Caporetto 
was avenged. The armistice was signed on the third of 
November amid wild enthusiasm.' 

When the first news of the coming offensive reached our 
Red Croes ambulance sections it found the men ready and 
eager. Section Four, situated at Schio and serving in the 
Asiago sector, had had an eventful month in September, 
But leas activity was expected on this part of the front in 
the coming battle and consequently five of its ambulances 
were assigned to Section One, at Bassano, which was serv- 
ing the army on the Grappa and was therefore expected to 
be in the center of greatest activity. There was keen 
rivalry for the posts of danger. No one wanted the tame 
but safe job of evacuation work at the rear, or posts on 
what promised to be a quiet part of the line. Our men 
were eager, almost too eager, to push forward, and many 
a " Bravo Americano ! " greeted the ears of a driver as 
his car would slip across some shell-ripped road to the 
dressing post just behind the line. Bassano was heavily 
bombarded in the early days of the battle. On the 26tJi 
of October a shell exploding in the Brenta just beside our 

1 The Italiaos lost during the war half a million dead, and a mil- 
lion wounded. Her national debt at the beginning of the war waa 
lesB than fifteen billion lire. On the Slat of October, 1019, thia had 
increased to nearly eighty-four billion. During the same time her 
paper •'■ Teaaed from two and three-quarter billion to nearly 




^Hunbolance headquarters, threw a sheet of water over lihe 
^^BCction chief who was sitting; at his desk. And a few 
mimites later another fell in the courtyard on the other 
side of the house, as a group of Arditi were hurrying by, 
killing three of them and wounding seven. For many 
months Eaasano had been a special target for Austrian 
guns, and this much-hattered town was almost deserted by 
its peace-time inhabitants. However, our men stationed 
here met with hut one fatality. On the 29th of September 
a shell had fallen near section headquarters, mortally 
wounding volunteer Joseph M. King, a youth of nineteen 
who, having been refused for more active service because 
of a comparatively weak constitution, had enlisted as an 
ambulance driver, which service he performed faithfully 
and with enthusiasm. He faced death with a smile, as a 
brave man should, and passed away peacefully in the 
hospital six hours after he had been wounded. He was 
buried with military honors, being borne to hia resting 
place in hia own grey ambulance. 

The Piave River and the Grappa Mountain will always , 
hereafter be objects of veneration, to the Italians, — the ' 
last line of defense, the chief bulwarks of her protection, 
on the east and the north. The Grappa rises precipitously 
from the plain just where the Brenta River emerges from 
the mountain valleys. From its summit, on a clear day, 
one could follow the whole battle line on the Piave, witb 
Venice plainly visible in the far distance. It was the 
pivotal position on the mountain front, and was the scene 
of some of the hardest fighting of the war. 

Our Section One served five outposts during the oifen- 
sive, each provided with its own depot of gasoline, oil and 
supplies, in charge of an Italian mechanic The most 
interesting and arduous of these posts were the three on 
the Grappa. The roads up this mountain were well made, 
but very steep, and they zigzagged back and forth with 
sharp angles. The Italians had been continuously at work 
widening and improving them, so that there was room ' 


two good-sized camions to pass, with a margin of a few 
feet, but there was no protection on the side, and it was 
always a thrilling ride. A slight miscalculation, and the 
car would not stop until it had rolled to the bottom. " You 
have excellent drivers here," Kipling is said to have re- 
marked to an Italian colonel as they were descending the 
Grappa. " Yes," he replied, " the rest are down there," 
pointing over the edge to the valley beneath. And now the 
roads were congested with the heavy traffic of war, and 
with troops always going up or coming down ; and frequent 
shell holes, dislodged stones, and unexploded shells added 
to the difficulties and dangers. It required strength and 
courage and constant attention on the part of the drivers 
who were responsible for getting their human freight 
through in safety to the nearest distributing station, often 
as many as fifteen wounded men being taken on a single 
trip. Provisions were rationed to each car and the men 
worked day and night. The night work was especially 
heavy; for long periods the nuiober of wounded was so 
great that the ambulances did not stop their motors between 

While Section One had been making service history in 
the mountains, Sections Five and Three were working on 
the plains. Section Five, with headquarters at Maser, was 
attached to two units of the Medical Corps of the Italian 
Army and was serving posts on the middle Piave. On the 
30th of October it crossed the river at Barche-Vidor and 
continued its work under great difficulties. The Austrians 
had allowed the roads to go to ruin, trusting chiefly to a 
narrow gauge track that they had built along the highways 
and across the fields to transport army supplies. They 
were badly cut up by the heavy army trucks with their iron 
tires — rubber had long since given out in Austria — and 
they were, besides, a series of shell holes, visible evidence 
of the effectiveness of the Italian artillery fire. Every- 
where were signs of a precipitate retreat: thousands of 
)ts and gas masks cast aside, abandoned trucks and 

1. _i_^^ 






cannoiij which the Miemj bad not had time to wreck ; and 
there were great quantities of unexploded shells and hand 
grenades lying aroiirid which were to prove the cause of 
many a little tragedy before they were finally cleared 

And always there was the endless line of Austrian pris- 
oners in their shabby grey uniforms. They seemed to he 
in fairly good physical condition, hot were listless and 
apathetic, ]ust a sea of bewildered humanity. No one ap- 
peared to know what it had all been about, or to care. AJI 
interest in life seemed cnished out of them, a tragic evi- 
dence of the deadening effect of the war upon eountleas 
numbers of men who are, with unconscious irony, said to 
have survived. A Hed Cross representative passing a com- 
pany of these prisoners resting by the roadside was hailed 
by the Italian ofiicer who had them in charge and asked if 
he could not provide something for them to eat, since they 
had been a long time without food. He gave them what he 
had, which was not much, and the Austrian captain, after 
a formal salute, divided it in small portions while his men 
crowded around like hungry wolves. It was a trifling inci- 
dent, hut typical of the general kindly attitude of the vic- 
tors toward the vanquished. It was the same spirit that 
has led the Italians in recent months to take thousands of 
starving Austrian children under their care, feeding them 
to a large extent by means of funds provided by their 
compatriots in America. 

Now and again our ambulances were despatched along 
little side roads into sequestered valleys where there were 
hospitals that bad served the enemy, still filled with Aus- 
trian sick and wounded who were in the last stages of 
wretchedness, for they had been deserted by their doctors 
and nurses, and left for several days without food or care. 
The Italians took tender care of them, sending them back 
to the bridge-heads, thence to be taken to the hoapitals in 
the rear. But many died before they could be moved. 

Section Three, working on the lower Piave, which 




made a record for its work in September, had less exciting 
but scarcely less difficult tasks during the final offensive. 
It was sent forward with the advancing army until some 
of ita outposts reached as far as the suburbs of Trieste. 
But the war was over, and this part of the Red Cross work 
was done. During (he month of the offensive and the first 
two weeks of November our ambulances had carried in all, 
in 2500 trips, 30,492 cases, a total distance of 269,347 

The ambulance sections were all withdrawn from the 
field and disbanded in November, the cars, equipment, and 
some of the personnel being transferred to the Departments 
of Transportation and Civil Affairs, which, in the re- 
deemed districts, were just entering upon a new phase of 
Eed Cross activity that was soon to reach colossal pro- 

In preparation for the great battle there had been some 
shifts in the positions of our rolling canteens in order that 
they might be of greater service to the troops that were to 
bear the brunt of the fighting. After a strenuous week, 
during which single canteens reached as many aa ten thou- 
sand soldiers a day on their way to and from the trenches, 
these canteens followed their divisions across the river. 
But the rapid progress of the army and an insufficient 
supply of camions made it difficult to continue this service 
with the advancing troops. However, the need for it had 
ceased. The spirit of a victorious army needs no stimula- 
tion. And 80 these canteens generally ended their days in 
some small town like Chiarano, Fossalta Maggiore, Portia, 
Sedieo, where, in response to the joint request of military 
and civil authorities, they gave what they had to relieve the 
greater needs of the civilian population. 

On the third of November a contingent of Italian Bersa- 
glieri landed at Trieste and took the city without firing a 
shot. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, they en- 
tered on invitation and were welcomed as deliverers. 
Word WP' ■ "^ sent to our Bed Cross delegate at Venice 


that the hospitals were in great need of food and supplies. 
A boat was immediately loaded, and within thirty-six hours 
after the Italians entered the city, the Red Cross repre- 
sentative was there with 50,000 lire worth of the necessary 
articles. After distributing these supplies he returned, re- 
porting no further need of Red Cross aid in Trieste, — 
which only showed that, although the war was over, condi- 
tions might still change completely over night. He could 
not have foreseen that within a few days one of the gravest 
situations Italy had to face, one most demanding Red Cross 
relief, would suddenly develop in Trieste, 

On the tenth of November the King arrived at Trieste, 
followed by the Inter-Allied Military Kission, which 
joined the royal procession, and was conducted through the 
cheering crowds as on a pilgrimage to the picturesque old 
church of San Giusto, which has been venerated for cen- 
turies by the Italian population. The church was in a bad 
state of repair, the Austrians not having allowed it to be kept 
up, since it was in a way the center and the embodiment of 
the nationalist aspirations of the Italians of Trieste, Now 
the Italians never let material needs take precedence over 
sentiment. Already a scaffolding was in place, and the 
work of restoration had begun. 

But there were in Trieste that day over ten thousand 
unbidden and unwelcome guests. Immediately after the 
signing of the armistice Austria turned looae all the 
Italian prisoners, of whom there were some four hundred 
thousand. They had gone south hy the shortest route, 
and were pouring into Trieste, hoping for transportation 
by water to Venice where they could entrain and continue 
their journey. Always under-nourished in the prison 
camps of Austria, they had been walking for days almost 
without food. They were all in rags, many of them bare- 
foot, many with pieces of old cloth or sacking tied around 
their feet, scarcely one with a sound pair of shoes. When 
at last they dragged themselves dovm the hill into Tri' 
it was only to find themselves shut in the conceatr 


camp that had been hurriedly improvised behind the iron 
fence that surrounds the wonderful docks of this port. 
The situation was appalling. No one who saw it can ever 
forget the haunting picture of these dazed and wretched 
men, clinging to the palings of the iron fence, and gazing 
hungrily at the crowds outside making merry over the 
King's visit. The best the government could do was to 
transport a few thousand a day ; but they kept coming in 
such numbers that before long there were a hundred thou- 
sand in camp waiting to embark. No one had anticipated 
such a situation, and the government was almost helpless 
in the matter of providing food. There was literally no 
food available in Trieste. Lard was selling, figured at 
the then rate of exchange, at ten dollars a pound, dried 
herring at $1.75 a pound, rice at $2.50 a pound. Bread 
was unspeakably bad and very scarce. Most fortunately 
one of our rolling canteens immediately after the armistice 
had pushed on through the Austrian lines to Trieste and 
was there when the prisoners began to arrive. It was at 
once set up in the concentration camp. But its two mar- 
mites could provide only five hundred portions at a time, 
which soon proved inadequate. Long before the soup was 
ready in the kettles a line of thousands would form. 
Starving men, when a certain limit is reached, wiU fight 
for food. Sometimes the line broke, and the distribution 
had to be suspended to prevent riots. But fourteen addi- 
tional kettles were promptly secured, food was rushed 
by water and by land from our well-stocked warehouses, 
and during the nineteen days that elapsed before the pris- 
oners could be removed the Bed Cross served 700,000 por- 
tions, each consisting of about a liter of hot, strong soup. 
In addition to giving food it distributed 25,000 woolen 
garments and 1500 pairs of shoes. The work was greatly 
appreciated by the military authorities who spoke of it 
as a veritable " act of Providence." The British Bed 
Cross also gave valuable assistance, providing 190,000 
T9'' t three-fourths of them being the triple army 



ration, beside furniBbing large quantities of horse meat 
There was a great deal of siekneas in the camp and the 
Italian authorities found it necessary to open seven emer- 
gency hospitals with a capacity of 7,000 patients. These 
were filled almost immediately, and the Red Cross was able 
to be of great assistance by supplying food and disin- 

After the closing down of the work in Trieste a small 
steamer was secured through the courtesy of the naval au- 
thorities and food was distributed to a number of small 
towns on the Istrian coast which were found to be in very 
great need. 

The universal rejoicing in Italy when the armistice waa 
signed and the war ended in victory was accompanied by a 
peculiar sense of exaltation due to the consciousness that 
at last the hour of vindication bad come. The tricolor had 
been planted on the natural protective boundaries, the 
Brenner in the north and the Julian Alps in the east. 
And the dream of the old heroes bad been realized. All 
the Italian lands had been redeemed — all, save a few 
small colonies scattered along the Adriatic. The unity of 
Italy was an accomplished fact. But the rejoicing was 
immediately checked by the sobering knowledge that the 
armistice had hut substituted new burdens for old. All 
the once prosperous little towns along the Piave, extending 
through a strip about ten miles in width, were mere heaps 
of ruins. The same desolation existed along the Brenta, 
up through the Val Sugana, and through the Val Lagurina. 
The situation was no better along the old battle line near 
the Isonzo. And many of the towns not on the battle 
fronts had been badly battered by air raids. 

The people who had remained in the four Italian 
provinces that had been occupied for a year by the Aus- 
trians were in a state of utter destitution. The enemy had 
not been guilty of acts of fiendisbness such as are reported 
of the Germans in Belgium and France, They had 





traps as they withdrew. There had been no wanton de- 
struction of property, and but little deliberate fouling of 
houaea. But there had been systematic and wholeaate rob- 
bery. In the early days of occupation all the Italian 
money had been taken from the people and they had been 
given in return the much-depreciated Austrian money. 
Later this waa taken from them and they were given in ex- 
change worthless paper money issued on the non-existent 
Bank of the Veneto. The houses that had been deserted by 
the refugees in the exodus after Caporetto had been 
stripped of everything, and in many cases were left 
mere shells, even the floors having been cut out for the sake 
of the timbers. And from all the houses everything 
of any value had been stolen and shipped to Austria. 
The pillaging had been carried so far that the glass had 
been taken from the windows, the blankets from the 
beds, the locks from the doors, the bells from the 
churches, the candles from the altars. Even the hos- 
pitals had been despoiled. All the better clothing had 
been seized and the people were left with nothing but 
the ragged garments on their hacks. In some communi- 
ties the best of the women's garments had been given in 
the early days of the occupation to the small army of 
prostitutes that the enemy brought with them, who were 
in every way favored at the expense of decent women. 
The latter were subjected to constant insult. The invaders 
had been particularly rough on the women, and many 
heart-rending tales were told of their sufferings. Nearly 
all the live-stock had been seized for the uses of the army. 
All the food had been requistioned, and the most meagre 
rations doled out to the inhabitants. The amount and the 
kind of food distributed varied in different localities. In 
some places it was 20 grams of com meal a day ; in others 
30 grams of a flour said to have been made of chestnuts, 
acorns, bran, and grass. Besides this small quantity of 
meal, cabbages constituted the chief article of diet. The 
people had been subsisting largely on cabbage soup, and 




on what herbs and roots they could gather from the fields. 
And the army in its flight had seized everything edible that 
they could lay their hands upon, even entering the peasante' 
houses and taking the polenta from the stoves. During 
the year of occupation, thousands, particularly the children 
and the very old, had died of starvation. 

It was the universal testimony of the people that the 
Hungarians, who had been their last masters, had been the 
most cruel. Nest had come the Germans. The Austrian 
officers were little better, but the men were for the most 
part more considerate, and when coming to rob the people 
would generally apologize, saying they knew the order waa 
brutal hut they had no choice but to obey. 

And so Italy, with her resources already strained almost 
to the breaking point, found herself confronted with the 
task not only of restoring the devastated homes but also of 
caring for these destitute people, numbering about a mil- 
lion, who, because the winter was at hand and the next 
harvest far away, would for many months be unable to 
provide for themselves. In this emergency lay another 
big opportunity for the Red Cross, and it made the most of 
it. In anticipation of a victorious offensive, the Red 
Cross warehouses near the front had been well stocked with 
food and clothing. As soon as the battle began personnel 
was withdrawn from other activities and concentrated at 
the front. All of the food not required for the immediate 
use of the various Red Cross institutions was hurried 
north. Preparations could be made on a large scale for it 
was known that great quantities of additional food supplies 
were on the way from America, most of which could be 
diverted to the new need. 

When the advance began the Red Cross was ready, and it 
followed the army ao promptly that often the day after the 
enemy evacuated the town it was there with its camions, 
ready to begin its work of relief. In the much-battered 
town of Conegliano the people who were living 
ruins were gathered in the church the day after the 



left — it was All Saints' day — to give thanks for their 
liberation. The bombs had torn the roof from the chapel 
where most of them were assembled, but "the image of the 
Virgin was intact and that sufficed. And when Don 
Giuseppe, the priest, announced at mass the arrival of the 
Ited Cross, and the relief that was to be given at once, it 
seemed to these people a direct answer to their prayers, 
and, weeping wi^ joy, they came out to thank and bless 
the Red Cross through its representatives. 

How the news of the work of the Red Cross had pene- 
trated the Austrian lines was shown by an incident reported 
by the priest of Oderzo. The people left in this little 
town had gathered in the public square and, forgetting the 
ruins that surrounded them and the hunger that gnawed 
their stomachs, were rejoicing over their liberation, when 
one man in the crowd grumbled : " It's all very well to be 
free, but we have nothing to eat.'' Whereupon a woman 
standing by replied: "No matter! Soon the Americans 
will be here to help us." And when the next day the Red 
Cross arrived with its camions of food, ready to open a 
center of distribution, she exclaimed exultingly, "I told 
you they would come, and here they are ! " 

Other centers were immediately established at Vittorio, 
Sacile, Pordenone, Udine, and Belluno. The center at 
Belluno was closed after a fortnight on account of the diffi- 
culty of transporting supplies over the impassable roads. 
But the others were continued until the end of March. 
From each of these centers all the surrounding communities 
were reached by special camion service until practically the 
whole of the provinces of Veneto and Friuli had been 
covered. A special warehouse was opened in an old con- 
vent in Treviso, which was made a separate district, with 
its own delegate, charged with the responsibility of receiv- 
ing and distributing supplies which were soon arriving by 
the trainload, and keeping his fleet of forty camions on the 
move to meet the demands of the different centers. 

The Red Cross never gave indiscriminately. After 



reaching a town, with the aid of the mayor, the priest, the 
doctor, or others in a position to know, liata were made of 
all the families, and each was provided with a card giving 
ail the necessary information. Supplies were given only 
upon the presentation of this card, which was stamped 
each time food and clothing were given, a method which 
prevented duplication and insured fair distrihution. So 
successful was this arrangement that the local authorities, 
when supplies were received from other sources, would not 
infrequently ask the Red Cross to undertake their distribu- 
tion. Dispensaries were established in nearly every cen- 
ter, and visiting nurses and social workers made house to 
house visits, checking up the lists, caring for the sick, and 
issuing to the most needy orders on the Bed Cross ware- 
house for articles that they specially required. Food 
stuffs were in many eases supplied to local communities to 
enable them to reopen public soup kitchens, where the poor 
could obtain nourishing soup and bread free, the less poor 
for a nominal charge. Food and clothing were furnished 
to struggling orphanages, convents and other institutions 
that had bravely withstood the ravages of the enemy occu- 
pation. And large quantities of medical and surgical sup- 
plies, bedding, furniture, and other necesaitiea were pro- 
vided for the hospitals that had been left utterly bare by 
tie fleeing Austrians. As the situation began to improve, 
and stores were opened and government canteens estab- 
lished, the number of persons in the Red Cross lists was 
reduced, and this made it possible to take better care of 
the children, the sick, and the most needy. 

One day an Italian and his wife arrived at the Red Cross 
offices in Padua to aak for relief. He bad been a soldier 
in the Italian army, and his family had been left behind 
at the time of the invasion in a little mountain town in 
the province of Cadore. Returning home after the armis- 
tice he found them in utter destitution. He remembered 
the benefits he had received from the Red Cross as a sol- 
dier, recalled its generosity and friendliness, and decided 

led i 



to appeal to it. He knew there was a Bed Cross center at 
Padua, and so he and his wife set out, dragging a large 
hand-cart, walking four days and nights before reaching 
their destination, passing on their way through the city of 
Vittorio by night without discovering that the Red Cross 
was established there. It is hardly necessary to say that 
their faith in the Red Cross was richly rewarded, and that 
they were started on the return journey with a heavy load. 
As a result of this experience, and of reports that had 
begun to come in from the mountain towns, where the Red 
Cross had not yet penetrated, it was decided to estahliah a 
center at Auronzo, a beautiful town in the heart of the 
Dolomites. Fifteen camions were sent up, laden with 
food, soon to be followed by as many more, and from this 
center all the surrounding hamlets were reached. The 
people in the mountains had, on the whole, fared better 
during the invasion than the people on the plains, but the 
inaccessibility of the towns, the railroads having been do- 
Btroyed, made government relief somewhat precarious, and 
there was a great deal of suffering, particularly among the 
poor. !Milk and fats were here, as elsewhere in the in- 
vaded territory, almost unknown — necessary articles of 
diet of which there was a great scarcity throughout Italy, 
but with which the Red Cross was at this time fortunately 
well supplied, 

A new phase of the Red Cross relief work began when 
the people who occupied the towns along the old battle 
line on the Piave, who had been withdrawn to the interior 
during the fighting, began to return to their ruined homes. 
Their evident joy in getting home, although " home " 
meant in nearly every case a heap of rubbish where it was 
all but impossible to improvise even a temporary shelter 
from the rain, was hard to comprehend. There were no 
stores, no poatoffice, for some time not even a semblance of 
city government, and no means of earning a livelihood. 
The Italian Government did what it could to help these 
people to re-establish themselveB, but there were scores of 

■ea of "{ 




ruined towns all calling for immediate relief, and the most* 
that it could do was to provide for the barest necesaitiea. 

There were 2700, out of a population of 7000, who 
had returned to the mined town of Valdobbiadeue when 
the Ited Cro3S arrived and established a center of distribu- 
tion. This town, before the war the seat of a thriving 
silk industry, surrounded by prosperous farms and vine- 
yards, is situated on a hill commanding a superb view of 
the Grappa and of the valley of the Piave. Not a build- 
ing had been left intact. Four hundred children were 
among the returned refugees, and five kindly Sisters had 
opened a school for them in the niina of what had once 
been a beautiful convent. There were three rooms that 
could be used, and here the children were taught in relays, 
those not in the classrooms spending their time playing 
among the ruins, while awaiting their turn. The sole 
equipment of the school consisted of some benclies and a 
shell-cracked blackboard on which the Sisters wrote the 
daily lesson with pieces of plaster. The Red Cross sup- 
plied books, pencils, crayons, and other necessary school 
furniture ; gave all the children clothing, and provided 
them with milk and a hot meal every day from the kitchen 
that was soon running. Nurses were sent up by the Red 
Cross, and two barrack hospitals were immediately built 
and put in charge of an Italian army doctor, a native of 
the place, a splendid fellow, who was universally loved by 
the people and who worked day and night with tireless 
energy earing for the sick in the town and in the surround- 
ing country. 

The worst conditions were found to exist in the ruined 
towns on the lower Piave. The marsh-lands here had not 
been drained for a year; nearly all the people were suf- 
fering from malaria, and they bad been hard hit by the 
influenza epidemic. A Ked Cross worker, after discov- 
ering Torre di Mosto, one of the most sorely stricken 
towns in this district, wrote : " You cannot imagine the 
desolation and abandonment of this place. I shall ah 


be haunted by the picture of these sick, starving creatures 
crawling around, poking at the ruins, — sunken-eyed, blue- 
lipped diildren, and hazard, desperate women. The peo- 
ple have been receiving a small supply of flour or meal 
from the government distribution in the commune on 
which this town depends, A few have succeeded in baking 
this into bread ; but it is almost impossible to get fuel and 
many are eating it raw." 

So the Red Cross came to Torre di Mosto, took over the 
town hall, the one building left that was in fairly good 
condition, fitted up a small hospital, and started a dispen- 
sary and clinic, with an Italian medical officer in charge, 
that gave treatment to as many as one hundred and fifty 
patients a day. An old Austrian camp kitchen found in 
an adjoining shed was impressed into service, and the Red 
Cross was soon distributing five hundred portions of soup 
and as many of milk a day, A small laboratory was 
opened where women were employed converting surplus 
hospital garments and surgical dressings into children's 
clothes. Clothing and canned and uncooked food were dis- 
tributed weekly to people living at a distance from the cen- 
ter. Meanwhile Ked Cross nurses went about caring for 
the sick, investigating the needs of the people, and meeting 
these as far as it was possible to do so, giving advice, sup- 
plying disinfectants, and keeping infectious diseases from 

The Red Cross went to the little town of Calvecchia, 
foimd a house in partial ruins, promptly repaired it with 
the aid of some soldiers, and established an asilo where 
one hundred and fifty children were cared for ; and set up 
a soup kitchen and began the distribution of food. It then 
opened a workroom where twenty women worked daily 
under the supervision of a nun making pillows, mattresses, 
sheets and clothing, and remaking articles that had been 
sent from America to meet the existing needs. 

Then the Red Cross went to San Dona di Piave, a com- 
mune of 16,000, widely scattered in four '' fractions.'" 


Nothing could exceed the chaos and desolation of this 
place. There was not even a shelter for the Red Croaa 
kitchen until one had been built. An enrollment was 
promptly made of all the people, and three kitchens and 
milk centers established, that aystematicallj distributed 
food, so that all received assistance at least twice a week. 
Plans were at once made for an asilo to care for the 
children, and three barrack hospitals were erected and 

The good effects of the Red Cross relief were everywhere 
immediately evident. The people in general were intel- 
ligent and self-respecting and the probability that, if given 
half a chance, they would speedily return to normal ways 
of living made anything that could be done toward help- 
ing them, and tiding them over the hard winter months, 
Beem worth while. From all of these centers relief was ex- 
tended to the surrounding towns. And in many of the 
ruined towns where it was impossible to give continued 
assistance the Red Cross entered with the returning ref- 
ugees and gave intensive relief during the first and hardest 
days of re-occupation. A well known Italian writer, in an 
article published in a leading daily, gives the following 
pen picture of this phase of Red Cross work. After speak- 
ing of the prompt and varied relief given by the Red Cross 
and its perfect adaptation to the needs of the people, due 
to its being based upon first hand knowledge of the 
" humble, pedestrian, muddy but tangible facts," he 

" The American Red Cross arrives with its camions in 
a ruined village. Prom a cave in a trench, from the cellar 
of a ruined house, from a hut made with four rotten poles 
and a torn blanket nailed againat the apse of a destroyed 
church, the men, women, and children come out. 

" ' How many families are you ? ' asks in her rude 
Italian a brave, smiling young girl in brown leather boots 
and a gray ' Arditi ' sweater. Another girl has opened a. 
bo:^ taken out a typewriter and turning the box over. 



placed the machine upon it. She also smiles. The people 
give their names; she writes the tickets. 

" ' What do you need ? ' 

" ' Boots ' — ' Pruning knives ' — ' Salt ' — ' Spadsi' 
— 'Quinine' — 'Blankets' — 'Meat' — 'Huts' — 
' Milk ' — 'A sewing machine.' 

'' ' We can't give pruning knives or spades, or shovehi 
Here is the salt and the quinine. Here are fifteen blan- 
kets. The rest we will send in five days. Cans of meat 

and milk you can have on Mondays and Fridays at ^ 

two miles from here, by producing these tidcets. The 
sewing machine we will send in eight days.' 

'' Two hours later, the census finished and the distribu- 
tion made, after the lists had been checked up by a visit 
to the huts, the camion leaves. But five days later the 
blankets arrive, eight days later, the sewing machine. 
Little things, perhaps, in comparison to the task of the 
government, but useful, and repeated in two or three 
hundred villages. The communal secretary was right 
when he commended the example of the American Bed 
Cross, for its work has three qualities: (1) It is founded 
on facts seen and touched; (2) it docs not promise more 
than it can give; (3) it really gives what and in the 
measure it has promised. That is why everybody believes 
in it. 

In all, half a million people were under the care of 
the Ked Cross in the invaded districts during the winter 
after the armistice; and a hundred thousand garments 
were distributed. When this work was brought to a 
close, toward the end of March, there was still a large 
quantity of supplies of all sorts in the Ked Cross ware- 
house at Treviso, and these were turned over to an 
Italian committee that continued the work of relief in the 
devastated area until the bounty of nature began once 
more to provide for the needs of the people. 

The men and women who carried on the work of the 
Ked Cross in the liberated district, often under most primi- 


tive living conditiona, had a hard and exacting task. Bnl 
all of the reports that they sent in to headquarterg echo 
the sentiment thus expressed in one of them : " I am 
working seventeen hours a day, and never was so happy. 
Every hour is packed with interest. We are saving livefl 
hy the hundred. And how grateful every one is. I am 
sure that if the people in America could only see what their 
dollars are doing now they would be well pleased." And 
there is another note that runs through the reports, best 
described by quoting again : " The faults of the Italians are 
on the surface ; every one can see them. But we are dis- 
covering the sterling virtues underneath, I shall never 
misunderstand these people again. I am filled with admir^ 
ation for their wonderful patience and courage, their cheer- 
fulness in facing a truly desperate situation, and the dogged 
determination with which they tackle the difficult problems 
that confront them." 

The work of the Red Cross in the Trentino diifered 
from that in the devastated area east of the Piave, owing 
to the different conditions, but was no less comprehensive. 
Here, too, it followed in the wake of the advancing army, 
and began the distribution of food in the city of Trent 
immediately after it was captured. Before many days, 
however, the railroad to Italy was repaired, and the most 
pressing needs could be met by the government. So the 
Red Cross moved on north to Bolzano, to care for the 
returning Italian prisoners who were pouring in by this 
route, and were in a condition scarcely less desperate than 
that of the prisoners returning through Trieste and by the 
Veneto. A kitchen was set up between the tracks at the 
station, from which they all were served on the arrival 
of the trains. After a few weeks this emergency passed, 
and the Red Cross returned to Trent, where a new prob- 
]em had arisen. 

In the early days of the war the Auatrians had with- 
drawn, and interned in German Austria, all of the people 
from the towns south of Trent that were near the figb 


g° I 




zone, who had not fled for refuge to Italy, and all the peo- 
ple from the city of Trent who could not ahow that they 
possessed the means to care for themselves for six months, 
a provision often used as a pretext for banishing citizens 
for political reasons. There were 150,000 of these refu- 
gees or iniemati. As the trains that bore them north 
reached the town of Bolzano they were stopped, the people 
ordered to descend, and all who seemed at all able- 
bodied — old men, women, and girla — were forced into 
involuntary servitude, or worse. Many of them never 
came back. These exiles were now returning in large 
numbers. An excellent refugee committee of Trent waa 
receiving and caring for them, and distributing them, as 
it was possible to do so, to their own towns. Every morn- 
ing a caravan of Red Cross camiona followed these people 
to their destination, and distributed food, clothing, and in 
many cases beds and bedding, on presentation of the 
cards supplied by the refugee committee. Returning late 
to Trent our representatives would work far into the night 
making preparations for the distribution that was to be 
made on the following day. So thoroughly was this work 
done that literally every one of the repatriates was 
directly or indirectly the recipient of Red Cross aid. 
This statement is made on the testimony of the efficient 
vice-president of the refugee committee of Trent, Dalla 
Brida, an energetic young priest, with whom the Red 
Cross worked in close cooperation, whose intimate knowl- 
edge of conditions enabled him to speak with authority. 
When the Red Cross withdrew from the Trentino, toward 
the end of March, a large quantity of supplies was turned 
over to the local refugee committee to enable it to continue 
the work of relief with the destitute repatriates. 



Getting Out — Fighting TubercuIoaiB — Concluaion 

All of its enterprises for civilian relief carried on 
during the war had been undertaken by the American Red 
Cross witb the express understanding that its obligations 
should cease three mouths after the war was over, and that 
it was to be the judge as to when the war ended. Accord- 
ingly, after the armistice, all delegates were instructed to 
begin at once to make arrangements for bringing the work 
in their districts to a close. By the first of March, 1919, 
the Red Cross had withdrawn from all its war-time activ- 
ities for civilian relief, the district centers had been closed, 
and the disbanding of the organization was well under 
way. In moat cases, however, better than its word, it had 
left with local committees the material necessary to con- 
tinue until the following summer the activities that it had 

A volume might be filled with the expressions of appi 
elation, oral and written, received from Italians of 
walks and conditions of life, from the King, who, speaking 
in his own name and in the name of the army and of the 
people, voiced admiration and gratitude for the work of 
the American Red Cross that had "made secure and im- 
perishable the foundations of cordial and trusting friend- 
ship between the two countries," down to the peasant 
mother invoking the blessing of Heaven on America for 
saving the life of her child ; from the Premier, from may- 
ors, prefects, and other dignitaries, giving official acknowl- 


ing I 

edgment of the effective work of relief, down to the smal^^^J 
K child in the asilo touchingly trying to express the iullnw^^^^ 
H of hei heart: from the soldier at the front writing of l^^^^H 
H^ 203 ^^^H 




gratitude for the load that bad been lifted from bis mind 
by the knowledge that his loved ones were being cared 
for in bis absence; from the distinguished Roman prelate 
who declared with enthusiasm that the work of the Hed 
Cross bad been a revelation, showing that a vast humanita- 
rian work could be accomplished with entire detachment 
from either religious or political influence, and with even- 
banded justice to all, who said that people had often come 
to him asking him to intercede with the Red Cross in tbeir 
behalf or in behalf of some project in which they were in- 
terested, and that he had always replied: "Go to the 
Red Cross and present jour case. If your cause deserves 
support you will get it." And he added that he had never 
known of one refusal that was not justified. 

One important phase of Red Cross work, the assistance 
given in fighting tuberculosis, has not yet been described. 
Its consideration has been deferred to this point because 
it was a work carried out after the war was over, and be- 
cause the nature of the work done, partly determined by 
that fact, was such as to make it a natural transition from 
the war work of the American Red Cross to its after-war 
plans as these are to be carried on by the League of Red 
Cross Societies, 

The tuberculosis unit arrived in Rome shortly before 
the final victory, with an organization that proved larger 
than was required for the work that it was destined to 
accomplish. The influenza epidemic was, however, at that 
time at its height, and a number of doctors and nurses, 
transferred to other departments, were able to perform in- 
valuable service in that emergency. 

It was decided, the war being over, not to spend the re- 
sources of the Red Cross in erecting or subsidizing hos- 
pitals, or in other ways caring for the tubercular victims 
of the war, but rather to work with the Italians in devel- 
oping methods for a systematic and thorough-going attack 
upon the disease itself, thus utilizing the opportunity of- 
fered to promote the advancement of international cooper- 


ration in public health work generally, and especially in 
fighting contagious diseases, 

In order to lay securely the foundations for effective 
work a careful survey was first made of all Italy, province 
by province, and statistical data were collected covering the 
educational system, school hygiene, child labor, houaing 
conditions, emigration and the labor situation, existing in- 
stitutions and organizations for child welfare, for nursing, 
and for the promotion of public health work in tubercu- 
losis. Much of the material gathered in this survey has 
been published in printed reports, which should be of 
value not only in Italy in furthering international stand- 
ardization in health work, but also in America in handling 
the Italian immigrant problem. 

As a result of this preliminary investigation a broad 
and comprehensive program was adopted which involved 
BB its basic feature the formation of provincial committees, 
each employing a full-time executive secretary, and com- 
mittees in various centers in each province. These com- 
mittees were to complete local organization for anti-tuber- 
culoais work, establish dispensaries, employ visiting nurses, 
and carry on an educational campaign for which the Red 
Cross was to furnish posters, pamphlets, traveling dispen- 
saries, motion picture machines, films, and lantern slides. 
In accordance with this plan provincial conmiittees were 
organized in Liguria, Umbria, Sardinia, Palermo, Gir- 
genti, and Alessandria, and more than a dozen local com- 
mittees besides. The initiative was in every case taken by 
interested Italians, and by them the work was carried on 
and the funds raised for its continuance. The American 
Red Cross gave financial assistance at the start and con- 
tributed small subsidies for the first few months of opera- 
tion. For the rest, it disappeared as much as possible into 
the background, acting as advisor and consulting engineer 
in health work, contributing educational material and 
erally putting at the disposal of the committees the 
of experience gained in similar work in America. 


;meer n 





Since the raost important factor in public health work 
of any sort is the visiting nurse, schools were established 
in Rome, under the auspices of a committee of the National 
Federation of WomeD's Clubs, and at Genoa, under the 
auspices of the provincial Anti-tuberculosis League of Lig^ 
uria, where in two four-month courses groups of Italian 
women, specially selected because of their ability and their 
previous nursing experience, were given intensive training 
in district nursing by a corps of American women who 
were experts in this field. 

The Red Cross also gave assistance in certain closely 
correlated fields of work. In cooperation with tbe national 
association of men engaged in medical inspection work in 
the public schools it worked out a general program, pre- 
pared pamphlets and booklets of instruction for teachers, 
and made arrangements with the Minister of Education 
whereby government support was assured in the plans for 
the rapid extension of this work to all the schools of 
Italy. Local and national groups interested in child wel- 
fare work were through charts and diagrams made ac- 
quainted with tbe methods in use in America. A model 
program was prepared and adopted by the child welfare 
committee of Naples which was aided by the Red Cross 
with supplies and a subsidy; and assistance was given to 
leading pediatricians and obstetricians who were anxious 
to form an association to start a national campaign for 
child welfare. 

There had been at all times in the work of the Italian 
Commission of the American Red Cross close cooperation 
with Italians, and in many caaes the Red Croas had ex- 
tended relief through Italian organizations. What is 
unique in the tuberculosis work is that from first to last, 
in its inception and in its maintenance, it was constructive 
work in the hands of the Italians, the Red Cross stimu- 
lating interest, helping in the organization, advising, aiding 
and backing the Italian committees in every way possible. 
It is for this reason that this last phase of Red Cross activ- 


ity in Italy fomiB & natural transition from emergency 

work to the persistent problemg of sickness and aufferii _ 
that every nation must indeed solve for itself, but that 
cannot adequately be dealt with without that solidarity of 
effort that will come through the League of Ked Croaa, 

It is the purpose of this League to stimulate 
country the interest in Red Crosa work and to aid in th< 
building up of a strong democratic Ited Cross organization, 
with a large popular membership, so that it may in fact 
be the expression of the collective heart of the nation. The 
representatives of the various Red Cross organizations, 
meeting in common council at the seat of the League, will 
then constitute a great clearing house for the exchange of 
ideas, so that the experience of each nation may become at 
once the common gain of all, thus establishing effective 
international cooperation in public health and social wel- 
fare work. Moreover, through the League, the civilizet' 
world will be united for joint effort in dealing with th( 
problems that know no national boundaries but are 
common task of humanity. 

But the aim of the League looks much further than this. 
Just as the spirit of compassion in individuals is the belief 
in equality kindled and made effective by emotion, so, be 
tween nations, the same spirit may be counted upon to make 
alive and effective that belief in a deeper underlying 
equality of civilized nations which better understanding 
brings about, a belief that must prevail if there is to be 
any hope of enduring peace. When men or nations meet 
each other with suspicion and distrust it is generally in 
large part due to misunderstanding ; the result is apt to be 
jealousy and bate; and the logical end of hate is war. 
If wars are to cease, nations must meet, not with the old 
superiorities and condescensions, the old suspicions and 
jealouaiea, but in the spirit of equality and friendship, 
based upon mutual understanding and therefore carrvin" 
with it confidence and trust. In the measure thi 




League of Eed Cross Societies succeeds in hastening this 
happy consummation^ will it have fulfilled its highest 

As one looks back upon the work of the American Red 
Cross in Italy, one may well take pride in its great accom- 
plishment. But what is of the most value in that work is 
the contribution made through it to this greater cause of 
permanent peace. For what the Eed Cross has done to 
strengthen the bonds of friendship between our two nations 
through a better mutual understanding, carrying with it 
confidence and trust, is its greatest, its enduring achieye- 




Total Expenditures or the American Red Cross Commissio: 

TO Italy raoM November, 1917 to June 30, 1919 

[Statement Bupplied by Neleon Mills.] 

From November, 1917, to June 30, 1919, the total expenses a 
the American Red Cross Commission to Italy were, Lire 11^-4 
880,066,20, divided as follows: 

Qvil Affairs 74,332,817.00 64.71peroonti 

Militarj Affairs ] 1,713,560.00 10.20 * 

Medical Affairs 1 5,187,018.02 13.22 

TuberculoB is Division ■,480,000.70 3,03 

Administrative Bureau 8.854,82353 7,71 

Eestricted Funds 5.620.77 

MiscellaneouB 1,283,650.83 1.13 

I14,SSO,IH0-2O lOOpeieeut 

It is interesting to note the vHrious percentages against the 
above exjienditurea, the total Administrative Bureau expense 
being only 7.71% of the total 

Under Department of Civil Affairs, we operated appropria- 
tions for relief of refugees, for canteen service, for children's 
work, for relief of Italian soldiers' families, for ouvroire and 
section of home service. The various espenditures and per- 
centages under department of Civil AfFairs to June 30, 1919, be- 
ing as follows : 

Administration 9S8,085.65 1.33 per cent J 

Relief of refugees 24,61 1,220.79 33.1 1 

Canteen Service 7,379,430.21 9.93 

Children's Work 12,841,373.16 17.27 

Belief of Italian Soldiers' Families... 16,450,948.67 22.14 

Contingent Relief Fund 60,033.61 .08 

Ouvroir Dept 11,822,157.77 15.91 

Home Service 173,567.14 .23 

74,332,817.00 100 per cent 

ITnder the Department of Military Affairs we operated appro- 
priations for the Relief of Italian Soldiers at the Front, Section 
of Ambulance Serviw, Section of Canteens and Rest Hous^J 
and Section of American Soldiers at the Front. The total i 




penditune of theee TartouB appropriationB with percentage i 
June 30, 1919, being as follows: 

AdminiitralioQ 199,102.26 1.70 per n 

Italian Soldiers at Front 2,830,706.21 24.20 

Ambulance Service 3,943,890.81 33.06 

Canteen and Rest Housci 4,287,072.93 38.59 

American Soldiers at the Front 452,198.39 3.86 

ll,7in.56g.60 100 per cent 

Under our Department of Medical AEFairs we operated four 
appropriations, one for surgical dressings, one for section of hos- 
pital service, one for administration and one for Kursea' Home 
at Milan. The various expenses with percentages being as fol- 
lows : ^^^_ 

Surgical Dresalngs Berrlea 1,189,808.66 7.83perMB^^^H 

EoBpital Service 13,071,754.25 90,02 ^^^H 

Administration 253,013.54 1.67 ^^^H 

Nuraea' Home, Milan 72,951 .67 .48 ^^^ 

15,187,618.02 100 p«r cent 

Our Department of Tuberculosis was divided into seven sec* 
tiona, the total expenditures under each section to June 30, 191! 
being as follows : 

Adminiatration 342,895,41 9.84 per r* 

Medical Service 238,437.85 6.84 

Public Health Nursing 378.806.34 10.87 

Public Health EducatiM 590.207,23 17.10 

Hospital Relief 407,007.51 11.67 

Traveling DiBpenaarieB 17,815.07 .61 

Provincial OrgsJiization 1,504,806,45 43.17 

3,480,068,70 100 pi 

Our Department of Adnnnistration operated seven sectioi. 
The variooB eipendituree with percentages under each to Jul 
30, 1919, being as follows: 

Section of Transportation 3,086,162,95 34.85perei 

" PurchsBCB 127,840,79 1,44 

"Stores 2.563,351-25 28.95 

" " Finance ajid Accounts e9I.I.';7.45 7.81 

" SeereUrj General 1,706,129.77 10.95 

" " Public Information 581,522.61 6.57 

Traveling ExpenseB Permanent Com- 

to Italy 38,658.40 .43 

8,854,823.22 100 pern 



It is intereating to note that, taking our total expenditures 
June 30, 1919, the percentages are as follows: 

Equipment 6.13 per tent 

MerL-handiae for Relief 60.65 

Salaries and Wagea 8.03 

Operating Expenses S.55 

Donations 10.64 

100 per cent 

Adding together Merchandise for Relief and Donations to 
other organizations gives us 77.39% of our expenses given in 
actual direct relief in Italy. Also the fact must be taken 
into consideration that, included in the items of Salaries and 
Wages, 8.03%, are the maintenance and salary charges of the 
doctors, ambulance drivers, nurses, social workers, etc., whose 
i were all directly devoted to direct relief, ao this per- 
centage should really be added to the amount extended for 
actual relief. 

In connection with our equipment expense, 6.13%, we have 
already received 25% of this in actual cash returns from salee 
of equipment and the remainder of the equipment has been do- 
nated to Italian institotiong so that the percentage of this should 
be added to the amount expended for actual relief. 

These percentages tell a very complete story of our work in 
Italy and from the standpoint of the statistician are extremely 
I TBluable. 


Italian version of the first and last verses of the Star Spangled 
Banner made by Capt. Frank A. Ferret, slightly modified in 
the " attempt to carry forward the sense to our present day and 
to our mission in the world." 

Oh dite se ognor 

Nel roasigno albor, 
II simbolo fiero di nostra speranza 

Con stellate splendor, 

Ormai vincitor, 
Ondeggi sul forte con balda fidanza. 

Or che, al novo fulgor, 

Gia la tenebra muor 
E la fede rinasce fra tanto dolor. 
CSie in alto quel nostro vessillo atellato 



Sempre sventoli al sol 
Su libero suoll 

Qualora nel cuor 

Col piu santo amor 
Un popolo sogni la sua libertade^ 

Dal fiero oppressor 

Protegga ognor 
II nostro vessillo le loro contradet 

Dei nobili ardor 

Iddio difensor 
Ai giusti conservi la fede nel cor. 
£ in alto quel nostro vessillo stellato 

Sempre sventoli al sol 

Su libero suoll 


AusmiOAN Belief Clsabino Hoitss is Soms 

Executive Committee 

Lewis Morris Iddings, Chairman 

John Gray, Vice Chairman and Secretary 

Qeorge B. Page, Treasurer 


A. Apolloni, Marchese G. Guglielmi, L. Wollemborg, Dr. Jesse Bene- 
dict Carter, The Hev. Walter Lowrie, Norval Richardson, H. 
Nelson Ga^, G^rge W. Wurts, S. A. B. Abbott, StanW B. 
Lothrop, Gorham Fhillips Stevens, Gaetano Cagiatl and £. O. 


The Amebioan Red Cboss Tempobabt Oommission 

August 31 to October 2, 1917 

George F. Baker Jr. Nicholas F. Brady 

John R. Morron Chandler R. Post 

Dr. Thomas W. Huntington Gorham Phillips Steyens 

Dr. Victor G. Heiser Charles Upson Clark 



Emeegenoy Organization of the Amebican Red 
Ckoss in Italy 

November 5 —December 20, 1917 

(The men whose names are printed in italics later served | 
f with the permanent organization of the Americaa Bed Croas J 
in Italy.) 

Carl Taylor, Deputy Commissioner 

Charles Carroll, Aide 

Bemon S. Prentice, Director of Admtniatratioa 

A. H. Green, Jr., General Manager 

E. G. Smith, Director, Dept. of Aceoimta 

E. H. Sherman, Director, Dept. ot Storei 

E. E. Dart, Secretary 

Ernest Meadowa, Publicity 

J. Forreet Reilly, Assistant Secretatf 

A. P. Cartier 

Department of Military Aifairt: 
H. B. Stanton, Director 
G. W. Beadel, Assistant 
R. G. Mather, Secretary 

B. M. Neater, Chief Inspector 
Nicholas R. Rhode* 
RobertHon Williams, Field Delegate 
H. B. WtJfctn* 
Riohard Wallace 
Myron C. Nvtiing 

»S. W. O. Bovxtoin 
Oharhi K, Wood, Inspector 
Department of Civil Affairs: 

Edward Eyre Hunt, Director, November 5-December 10 
Ernest P. Bicknell, Director, December 10-December 20 
B. 0. Barllett, Asst, to Director 
W. C. Smallwood, Advisor to Director 
Donaldson Clark, Assistant 
A. J, Akin, Florence 
Albert R. Chandler, Milan 
Bugh Hcaton, Turin 
O. H, Sellenings, Turin 

■ G. F. Laughlin, Leghorn 

■ (Stanley Lolhrop, Rimini 

■ D. S. MacLaughlan, Palermo 
K T. E. UaaiM, Naples 


C. V. Moore, Mikn 

H. W, Partona 

Oharlea A. W%lUam$, Delegate 

Investigating Oommittee on Refugees: 

Ernest Bicknell 
Edward T. Devine 
Paul U. Kellogg 

Local Committees: 


North Winship, Chairman 

U. J. Bywater, Secretary and Treasurer 


Paul Grosjean, Chairman 
Paul Allen, Secretary 

American Consuls cooperating with Bed Cross: 

B. Harvey Carroll, Jr., Venice 

E. F. Dumont, Florence 

North Winship, Milan 

Vice Consul (Juincy Roberta, Genoa 

W. J. Grace, L^hom 

Samuel H. Haven, Turin 

Robertson Honey, Catania 

Joseph E. Shank, Palermo 

Jay White, Naples 

American Belief Committee in Lombardy November, 1917: 

North Winship, Chairman, 

Edward C. Richardson 

John F. Stucke 

Malcolm P. Hooper 

William R. Baimson 

Ernest E. Ling 

William R. Meadows 
Ulysses J. Bywater, Secretary and Treasurer. 

Oenoa Committee of the American Bed Cross : 

Paul Grosjean, Chairman 
Quincy F. Roberts 
A. T. Rosasco 
Homer Edmiston 
Lamar Fleming, Jr. 
Paul Allen, Secretary 

American Consuls cooperating with Bed Cross: 

B. Harvey Carroll, Jr., Venice 
E. F. Dumont, Florence 



North Winship, Milan 

Vice Coneul Quincy Roberts, Genoa 

W. J. Grace, Leghorn 

Samuel H. Haven, Turin 

Robertson Honey, Catania 

Joseph E. Shank, Palermo 

Jay White, Naples 


Amebioan Eed Cboss Commission in Italy 

as of December 20, 1917 

Robert P. Perkins, Commissioner 

Deputy Oommissionebs 

Chester H. Aldrich 
James Byrne 
Dr. Joseph Collins 
Ernesto G. Fabbri 

Rev. Sigoumey W. Fay 
Samuel L. Fuller 
Guy Lowell 
Thomas L. Robinson 
Dr. L. Witmer 

General Obganization 

Placid James Carmeci 
Sylvia Coney 
Glyn Davies 
Jolm B. Erit 
Sophie P. Foote 
Raymond L. Hayman 
William R. Hereford 
Alice McKay Kelly (Mrs.) 

W. A. Moore 
Gardner Penniman 
Regis H. Post 
Julius Roth 
Ernest A. Salvi 
John DeRaismes Storey 
Alexander Torelli 
Edgar I. Williams 

Liaison Offioebs 

Rome Office 

lit. Col. Adolfo ApoUoni 

Maj. Gioecchino Laurenti 
Lieut. Nerino Raspom 

Col. Ranuccio Marzochelli Lt. Guido Senguinetti 

Capt. Felice Cacciapuoti Lt. Guglielmo Nesi 




Ohoahization as of Novembeb 1, ISii 

Department of ADMiNiaTHATioN 
Ernesto Fabbri, Inspector Gpnerftl 
J&meB Byrne, Legal Adviger 
Sunuel L. Fuller, Director of AdmitUBtration I CommiBaioner Janoi 

to April, IBIO) 
Herbert ScoTtUe, SecretHfj General 
NelBon Mills, Comptroller (Director Finance and Accounts Mardi 

27, 1919) 
Julius Roth, Director Stores and Transportfrtlon 
Gino L. Perera, Director Departmeot Purrhases 
William B- Hereford, Director Department Public Information 
Charles M. Bakewell, Department of Public Information 

Clarence S. MeKune, Real Eetate and Property 

Palmer P. Day, Asst. Secretary General fSeeretary General April 

15, 1919) 
Thomas B. Taylor, Aest. Secretary Qeneral 
Norman L. Wills, Jr., Asst. C<»nptrol!er (Comptroller March W, 


Humbert Erit, Paymaster 

Gorham Lyie Olds, Asst, Department Public Informatitm 

John Howard Lawson. Editor of the Bulletin 

John DeR. Storey, Aaet. Legal Adrisor 

Department of MiLiTARr Affairs 
Out Lowell, Director of Department 
Phillips B, Thompson, AssiBtant to Director 
Henry B. Wilkins, AHsiBtant to Director 
James Gamble, Field Director Rolling Kitchens 
Robert W. Bates, Director of AmbulancB Serrice 

Section Chef», Ambtilance Service: 

Section I; George Utasey, L. G. Hunter, M. D, Betweiler, CluirlM 

Section II : James P. Gillespie 
Section III: F. J. Nash, O. P. Aakajn 
Section lY: Charles B. Griffin, E. H. Baker 
Section V: Howard Kahn, G, F. Voile 

Section Sous-chefs, Amhulance Service: 

Section I: L. G. Hunter, Charles Waldispuhl, John K. Oloud 

Section II: A. E. Collinson 

*T1: E. J. Welch, J. H, Tedford 




Department of Medical Afpairs 
I Dr. JoBepIi Collins, Director of Department 
Dr. Eugene Crockett, Aeaietant to Director 
Dr. Ralph Hfimill, Aaaistant to Director 
Dr. Charles Rigga Parke, Physieian to Red Croaa PerBomiel 
Sara E. Shaw, Director of Nurses 
Mildred Blum en thai. Secretary 

Department of Civil Affaihs 
Cheater H. Aldrich, Director of Department 
Edward 0. Barilett, AsBt, Director of Department (Conui 

April 1, 1Q19) 
Gertrude H. Springer, General Secretary 
Charles F. White, in charge of Home Service work. 

District Delegates 
Avellino, G. P. Ceutanini, Josephine Centanini (Mrs.) Co-Delegate 
Bari, Edward D. Self (May, IBIS-November, 1918); C. T. Erickaoo 

(October, 1018-Januarv, 191B) 
BoIogUA, Nicholas R. Rhodes (Dec., ISIT-Not. 16, 1018) j WUliam 

Sohier Bn-ant (Nor., iei8-F6b., 191B) 
Calabria, H, W. C. Bowdoin 
Florence, A. J. Akin 
Genoa, Edgar I. Williams 
Milan, Thomas L. Robinson (Dec., 1617); Joseph M. MacDonoiUj 

(Feb,, 1918-Jan., 1019) 
Naples, Thomas A. Mason (Nov., 1917-Mar., 1018); Charles . 

WilliamB (Nov., 1917-Jan., 1919) 
Padua, Frederick C. Thwaits 
Palermo, Donald S. MacLaughlin (Dec, 1017-Aug., 1018); John O.^ 

Champion (Angust, IBIS-Feb., 1910) 
Rimini, Stanley Lothrop 
Roman District, Harold W. Parsons 
Sardinia, Cbariea W. Wright 
Taormina, Charles K. Wood (Dec., 1917-Maroh. 1018); Winifred O.i 

Putnam (Mar., 1918-Feb., 1919) I 

Turin, Hugh Heatou (Jan., lOlS-March, 1018) ; Irving E. Taylor I 

March, lOlB-Jan., 1019) I 

Venice, Moses S. Slaughter, Gertrude M. Slaughter (Mrs.) Co- J 


Sub-District Repretmtativei 
Anzio, H. I. Stickroth 
Canicattini Bagni, Dr. L, Alfleri-Marsh 
Chioggia, A. R. Chandler 
PUcenza, T. Robertson WilJiams (Nov., 1917-Nov., 1918); 

L. Rowan (July, lOlS-Mar,, 1910) 


Pisa, Franoeico Mauro 
Umbiia, Sophie P. Foote 
Verona, Ridiard W. Wallace 
Vioenzay Qeorge Utassy 

Tuberculosis Department 

William Charles White, Director 

Robert H. Biehop, Jr., Asst. Director 

Robert G. Paterson, Section of Public Health Education 

Ervine A. Peterson, Section of Public School Hygiene 

Richard A. Bolt, Section of Child Hygiene 

John H. Lowman (to January 4, 1919), Section of Medical Service 

Joseph C. Palmer (Jan. 4-24, 1919, Section of Medical Service 

Lewis D. Bement, Business Manager 

Louis I. Dublin (to Nov. 4, 1918), Section of Statistical Information 

Knud Stouman (from Nov. 4, 1918), Section of Statistical Informa- 

Mary S. Gkurdner, Section of Public Health Nursing 

Elnora E. Thomson, Educational Director, Section of Public Health 

Annie R. McCauley, Acting Assistant, Section of Public Health 

Bertha M. Laws, Secretary to Commission 


Representatives fob Emeeoency Work nr 
Devastated Tejelbitory 

Ernesto G. Fabbri, Inspector General 
R. Leland Keeney, Delegate 


C. M. Girard, In charge of civil distribution 
H. C. DePinna (Mrs.), Civil distribution 


G. M. Springer (Mrs.), In charge of civil distribution 
R. D. Farquhar, Civil distribution 
Rosa Gandolfo, Nurse 


Seymour Bulkley, In charge of civil distributicm 

Franc Delzell, Assistant 

Dr. Jane Robbins, District nursing 

Jane T. Dahlman (Mrs.), Nurse 

Maria T. Ambrosini, Nurse 

Anne R. Smith, Civil distribution 


Frank P. Fairbanks, In charge of distribution for district 

Umberto Poeaenti. In charge of outeide diatribution 

Amado Pacifici, Civil distribution 

Janet Comerford, In charge of nuraing 

Giorgio Parinetti, NuiBe 

Agnes Conway, Nurse 

Gladys H. Moore, Nurse 


James P. Carmeci, In charge of distribution for district 
Edward W. Forbes, In charge of distribution for toini, later, i 

Samuel M. Sturgeon, Civil diatribution 
Margaret Farquhar, District nursing 
Bora E. Lobb, Nurse's helper 


G. A, Fraaer, In charge of distribution for district 
Susan Cort, In charge of distribution Sacile center 
Jeanette F. VanSciver, Civil distribution 
Millie C. Gosnej, Diatriet nursing 
Margaret P. Smith, Nurse in hospital 
Franca Saroni, Nurse in bospital 
Valeria Bittenhouse, Nurse in iiospital 
Ellen K, Finerty , Secretary in hospital 

San Dona Di Piave; 


Charlotte M. Wiggin, In charge of distribution 
Joseph P. Rose, Civil distriliution 
Agnes H. von Kurowsliy, District nuraing 
Loretta A. Cavanaugb, In charge of hospital 


Louis F. Corti, In charge of distribution 
Amej O. Aldrich, Distiibution 

Leland R. Keeney, Delegate Treviso District and reoecupied terrl-' 

tory beyond Piave 
Harry H, Eochefort, In charge of warehouse 
Edward K. Taylor, In charge of stores 
G. F. Voile, In charge of transportation at Treviso and reoccupied 

Thomas R. Pearce, In charge of distribution in Valdobbiadene Dis- 


Robert D. Irion, In charge of medical storee 
Glyn Daries, In charse accounting at TreTiao 
Edward C. Foote, In diarge of accounting at Treriao 
W. P. Brown, In charge of shipping at TreTiao 
Maury F. Jonee, Warehouse 
Mary Herald, Stenographer and civil distribution 
Dorothy Buck, In charge medical distribution 
Grace £. Peterson, Stenographer Medical Department 
Delia C. DeGraw, In charge of nursing, 331st Hospt. 


Clarence A. Davis, In charge of distributiim 
Z. G. Brockett, Outside di^ribution 
C. A. Sherman, Civil distribution 
Georj^iana B. Sherman, Civil distribution 
Willie C. Johnson, Civil distribution 
Maurice Best, Civil distribution 


Frederick L. Stephens, In charge of civil distribution 

Douglas Chamley, Civil distribution 

J. B. Thomas, Civil distribution 

Elizabeth Morrison, Distribution of clothing 

Dr. Harriet Ballance, Charge of Medical Dispensary 


Home Sebvioe Depabtment of the Amebioan Red 

Cboss in Italy 

In charge of Joseph A. Dial until Oct., 1918 

In charge of Charles F. White from Oct., 1918, to May, 1919 

Organization after May, 1919 

Biildred Chadsey, Director 

Sophie Palmer Foote, Supervisor of Case Work 


Sue Wade Harmon, Field Worker 

Brewster Jones, 

Ugo Pellegrini, 

Julia Raymond, 

Giovanni Kicca, 

Ada Sassi, 

Carmie V. Vacca, 

Jay Walker, 

Sara Welsh, 



















AnbroBiui, Msria Tereik 
Bajetto, Aleaandra 
Borello, Just in a, 
Cam pan a, Maris 
rKAmipo, Livia, 
D'Angelo, Gennaro 
Failli, Elena 
Lenox, Laura 
Locaacio, Laura 
Malateeta, Bianca 
Mariotti, Sara 
Perticucci, Luigna 

GaliovsT, EUie 
Glomi, Anne 
Hughes. Dorothy 
Lonadale, Jane White 
Nebergall, Dorothy 
Piggott, James 
Stewart., Verda 
Story, Vivian 
Weadick, Sarah laabel 

Mra. Charlotte M. Heilman and Mibb Mary Grant Fraser, i 

the TuberculoHie Department, have also done field work for thii 


Ambolance Service and Rolling Canteen Sebvioi 

The decorations here noted are Italian decorations. 

• Silver Medal 
" Bronie Medal 

■"Silver Medal and War Cross — 2 or more citationi 
•' Silver Medal and War Cross — I citation 
••■War Cross — 2 or more citations 
■■■•War Croaa — I citation 

Ambulance Service — Section I 
Ackerman, E. B. Chambers, Robert N. 

Appleyard, E. H. Clark, Charles M. 

Argllle, Benjamin F. Cloud, JohnK-' 

Barber, Theo. P. 
Barlow, William E. 
Barr, Robert H. 
Bird, Fred. 0. 
Bermingham, Arch tf. 
Bragg, Fred A. 
Burns, Raymond F. 
Chadbourn, H. N. Jr. 
Chambers, Ambrose E. 

. Clifford O. 
(alao Section Connett, Thomas 0. 
Ciunmiag, Robert 
Cunningham, Robert A. 
Darling, Herbert H., Jr. 
Davis, Rusael 
Detweiler, Meade D.*^^" 
Dickinson, Wells S, 
Dos Paasos, John R. 

Droppers, Reton Rand •■■* 
Eliot, Charles Wm. 2nd"** 
Ellsworth, Duncan S. 




Ahbttlanoe Sebyioe — SEcnoir I. — Contimied 

Fairbanks, S. VanK. 

Fiake, John 

ForbcA, John M. 

Frenning, Alfred B. 

Goodwin, William H. 

Harris, Harley H. 

Heyne, Oscar C. 

Howard, Charles S. 

Hunter, Lytle Gale 

Irwin, Leon, Jr. 

Jacob, Kalph E. 

Jacob, Arthur C. 

Johnson, Percy D. 

Kahn, Howard (also Section 

6) ♦•♦♦ 
Kenyon, William H., Jr. 
^King, Joseph M. (also Section 5) 
Kingman, Henry S. 
Knapp, Harry K., Jr.*** 
Konrad, Harvey M. 
Lawson, John H. 
Lindermann, L. C. 
Liimmis, John M. 
Morgan, Stewart McK. 

Osterholm, Harvey G. 
Page, Charles A. 
Penniman, Gardner B. 
Poore, Dudley (also Section 4) 
Rodie, Walter W. (also Section 6) 
Rogers, Bernard F. 
Rotan, Ellwood, Jr. 
Salter, Thomas M. 
Seeley, Coles Van B .**•• 
Steers, James R., Jr. 
Sturdy, Herbert K., Jr.*** 
Van Cleve, John R. 
Van Don Arend, Fred 
Villard, Henry S. 
Voile, Gottlieb Fred (also Sec- 
tion 6) ♦♦♦♦ 
Wakiispuhl, Charles*'' 
Wharton, Bayard * 
Wharton, Thomas 
Wheeler, Alfred H. 
White, Richard L. 
Widner, Joseph A.**** 
Young, Charles J. 

Ambulance Sebvicb — Secjtion H 

Bakewell, William M. 
Bangs, Edward 
Brunson, Stiles M. 
Buell, Robert L. 
Cady, Fred. L. A. 
Campbell, Donald L. 
Chipman, John H. 
Chi^stie, Walter, Jr. 
Collinson, Alfred E.* 
Cooper, Irving C. 
Cordner, Edward Q. 
Crew, Morris W. 
Davidson, Lucius H.** 
Desloge, Joseph 
Dodson, Rowland W. 
Dorr, G. H.* 
Dresser, George E. 
Ellis, Parker K. 
Fast, Thomas MacB. 
Forster, Gardner **** 
Frisbie, Chaimcey O. 

Jones, Fontaine M. 

Lothrop, Francis B. 

Lundquist, John S. H. 

Macy, Valentine E., Jr. 

Miller, Richard K. 

Nash, Francis P., Jr. 

Newburn, Arthur C. 

Nichols, John R. 

Osborne, R. H. 

Parmelee, John R. (also Sec. 3) 

Parmelee, James H. 

Reid, Hugh H. 

Richmond, Stacy C. 

Roblee, Milo H. 

Roe, Clarence F.** 

Rogers, Horatio R. 

Roland, Robert H. 

Scudder, John A. 

Steward, Gilbert L. 

Stougbton, Philip V. 

Temple, Richard 

# Killed by Austrian shell at Bassano Sept. 29, 1918. 

^^^^^^^ APPENDICES ^^^^^B 

H AMBcijiriCE BmvioD- 

- Secttoh n. — Continuei ^^^| 

W Frotbingbam, Wllliaia B. 

Thomas, Joaiab B.**** ^^^M 

GilleBpiu, Jamea P.-' 

Fan Ingen, Lawrence ^^^H 

Gordon, John A.*» 

Wadsworth. Seymour ^^^H 

Green, Julian H. 

Whitnev, Jamea McV. ^^M 

Hutt, Roy H. 

Wolfe, Dudley F. C.*" ^^H 

■ AifBULAi40E Sbbvice — SecmaN in ^^^1 

m -Abbott, Panl 

liellett, William W. ^^H 

■ AlMSMder, K. D. 

Masters, Charles E.*"' ^^^H 

Jskam, Oliver p.»»»* 

Miller, John W., Jr.- (also Se^^H 

Beall, Edward C. 

2) ^^^H 

Bollmeyer, Fred J. 

Morrison, James H. ^^^H 

Brackett, Hoeford 

Kusser, Edgar Hale ^^H 

Brown, Linford E. 

Nash. Francis J. ^^^1 

Campbell, Kenneth "'■• 

Noyes, George C."" ^^^^1 
Olson, Malcolm G.'"> ^^^H 

Carpenter, George N,**'* 

Carr, Peyton T., Jr. 

Palmer, Merrill G.**"* ^^^H 

Cliebee, George H. 

Pillsbury, Stirling G. ^^^H 

Dalzell, Robert B. 

Preacott, Bryant ••" ^^^1 

Doe, Charles W.. Jr"" 

IRieser, Robert .(also SectM^^^H 

Eaton, Jamea H."" 


Fairbanka, James M. 

Rodes, Clifton ^^^H 

Fisher, Clarence A. 

Simmons, Rouse ^^^H 

Flint, Cuvier G. 

Slade, W., Jr.""* ^^H 

Fussell, Raymond H. 

Smith, Douglas M. ^^H 

Gibba, Harry P., Jr."" 

Smith, Wilbur E.**'* ^^H 

Gould, Howard F. 

Spelman, Henry M., Jr.**"" ^^H 

Hanks, Raymond T."" 
Harper, Edward B. 

Stinson, Robert ^^H 

Tedford, John H.**" ^^H 

Henderson, Winsted C.""' 

Thomas, Frank N., Jr. ^^H 

Hohl, Wniard H."»» 

Thoindike, Bobert A.**** ^^H 

Howard, Harlan H. 

Tiaon, Paul ^^H 

Hobart, JameB C, Jr. 

Valentine, AlasUr I. 0. ^^H 

Huber, Jerome J. 

Warren, Charles B. ^^H 

Humphrey, Merrill W. 

Welty. Duncan 0., Jr. ^^H 

_ Jenaen, Allan L. G. 

Williams, Harvey L. ^^M 

^ Johnson, William McK. 

Wilson. Lloyd R. ^^^M 

H Jones, Francis 0. 

Wolfe, Henry C. ^^^H 

^ Ambulamce Service — Section IV ^^^| 

Allyn, Philip M. 

Lasher, Charles W."— ^^M 

Anthony, E, A. 

Lindacy, Rupert W. ^^H 

Baker, Edwin H., Jr. 

Meyer, Arthur ^^H 

_ Bamett. Lawrence T. 

Moore. William 8., Jr.* ^^M 

K Baum, Kichird T. 

Nevin, Jack ^^H 

■ Blakeley, George B. 

Pease. Warren H. ^^H 

^^ Brumback, Theo. B. 

Pentz. William R. .^^H 



CrafU, John 
CrandBll, Charle* S. 
Dickenuan, Robert E. 
Eoff, WiUiftin T. 
Feder, Walter J.*' 
Fisher, Lawrence G. 
Flaliertj, Jerome S. 
George, Willi&ni H.**** 
Goodrich, Fred. P. 
Green, Augustus W.'"* 
GrifBn, Charles B.*'** 
Haehe, Pierra 
Hamilton, Henry M. 
Harris, G, W- 
Hawes, Richard S., Jr. 
Hemingway, Ernest M.* 
Home, William D., Jr. 
Jenkins, Howell O. 
Johnson, Herbert S, 

Porritt, I.oiigihaw K.**"* 
Preeton, George W,*"** 
Rehm, George E. 
Reid, John K. 
Rollins, Wm. S., Jr. 
Russell, Scott 
Schwartz, Samuel 
Sciidder, Cljflon R. 
Shaw. Carleton 
Shaw, Emmett H. 
Shipwaj, Leelie S. 
Sinumone, Zaimon O., Jr.*** 

Slegel, Frederick Wm. 
omaaon, Arthur E. 
Toole. Brice W. 
WaldroD, Jonathaii G.*"" 
Weiss, William L. 
Welch, Edward J., Jr. 
William, George W. {tiao I 

tion 5) "" 
Wolfs, VViifred H."*' 

Amsdiasce Sbbvice — Sectios V 

Agtte, Frederick J,"' 
Baker, Milford J- 
Bennett, Robert C. 
Bigelow, Talman •••* 
Biihy, Willard W."" 
Bobb, John McC-*"" 
Bridgman. Eldridge 
BuDtiu, Roger W. 
Butler, Hiland O. 
Comatock, Chauncey D.**' 
Dougherty, Edward R.*** 
Dutican, Elbert B. 
Gc^ie, James C, Jr.*"*" 
Greenland, HaywaJ-d "* 
Hioki, WilUam E.— • 

Uay, Lewis 8. (kbo I 

4) ••" 

Murphy, Chandler W. 
Norton, Percy D. 
Piper, George F.**** 
Price, George M. 
Rigby, William H. 
S^in, Ted W."** 
Sherman, Charles A., Jr."* 
Sturgeon, Samuel M.**** 
Tabor, Fred A. W:*" 
Tandy, William 
Vanderveer, John S.*"* 
Wormser, Robert S. 

RoLLiNa KrroHEN Sebvicb 

Gttnblo, Junes •**■ 

Bauby, John W.**** 
Beach, John P. 
Brown, William P. 

Cochran, Gifford A.** 
Dabney, Alfred S. 
DonaldHon, Harry F. 
Ehrhart, Eugene N.** 


Miller, Walter F.**" 
Mintura, John W."*' 

#■ Moore, William D., Jr.* 
My lea, Beverly R. 

# Penniman, Gardner B. 
Rogers, L. w.*"** 
Set^cer, Richard B. 



BoixiNG Kitchen 

Friedman, Victor H.»»»» 
GiU, Charles ¥.•*** 
Ladd, Carroll W. 
# Laaher, Caiarles W.»*»» 
Lee, Rudolph H.*»** 
Leggett, Schuyler ♦♦♦• 
McConnell, Roy P. 
## McKey, Edward N.» 
Miller, Alfred J. 

Service. — Continued 

Searles, Donald W. 

fSeeley, Coles V.»»»» 
Sturgeon, Samud M.***» 
Squier, Frank 
Steams, Howard Y.**** 
Stilhnan, Carl S.»**» 
Todd, John R. 
Watcoiiury, Reggie 

fAlso appear on Ambulance List. 
# Killed by an Austrian shell while on duty June 18, 1918. 






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Statement op Some op the Chibp Items Otheb Than 

Medical and Subgioal Supplies Received and 

Disteibuted by the a. R, C. in Italy 

Milk 6,066,600 cans 

Flour 2,146,100 lbs. 

Meat (barreled beef and pork) 1,996,600 *' 

Canned Soup < 480,000 cans 

Beans 17,690 sacks 1,769,000 lbs. 

Peas 6,885 « 588,600 « 

Sugar 6,770 " 677,000 " 

Lard 1,366 tierces 477,760 *' 

Bacon and salt pork 839,982 "